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College Football Playoff Wins Big

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Last night Ohio State triumphed over Oregon 42-20 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Watched by a capacity crowd of 85,689 in the stands and a cable television record of 33.4 million viewers—ESPN’s largest audience and highest overnight rating ever—the game represents a stunning success for the new era in college football.

Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team created an iconic trophy and visual identity to build the foundation for the new four-team playoff and raise its profile in the national conversation. The designs were fundamental elements in shaping every aspect of a mega sports event that combines the excitement of a tournament with a championship game on par with the Super Bowl.

Sleek and contemporary, the 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel trophy expands on the identity originally created by Michael Gericke and Matt McInerney for College Football Playoff. The symbol’s two rising brackets represent the coming together of the best teams in the playoff system and form the shape of a virtual football—the four laces of the ball portray the four playoff teams.

Healing U.S. Healthcare

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In his new high-profile book America’s Bitter Pill, the journalist and media entrepreneur Steven Brill explores the complex issues around American health care and healthcare reform, from the hard-won fight for the Affordable Care Act to the inner workings of Big Pharma, hospital pricing and the insurance industry. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have created a pair of striking illustrations for the cover story on the book in this week’s New York Times Book Review, using adhesive bandages to form images of the United States and the American flag.

To create the illustrations, Bierut and Pentagram designer Britt Cobb collected stock images of bandages and painstakingly placed them at various sizes to form a silhouette of the continental US (made with 272 bandages) for the cover and the Stars and Stripes (72 bandages) for an interior spread. The country’s diversity of healthcare approaches is reflected in the sheer variety of bandages, from typical “Band-Aid”-style strips of different colors to unusual shapes like butterfly and spot bandages.

New Work: Apex for Youth

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Apex for Youth is a non-profit organization that has provides mentoring and educational programs for disadvantaged Asian and immigrant youth in New York City. Apex’s network of volunteers is made up of working professionals who provide support in academics, social skills, and community engagement for elementary through high school students. Many of the mentees are are first-generation college students, and are encouraged to become volunteers after graduating high school, helping to extend the outreach cycle of the Apex program. Apex for Youth also holds its annual Inspiration Awards Gala, celebrating exceptional students and outstanding members of New York City’s Asian community.

Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed a new identity for Apex that reflects the organization’s influential mission. The logo design is inspired by the tangram, a traditional Chinese dissection puzzle in which seven flat, geometric shapes are arranged to form familiar objects. The new Apex logo makes use of these shapes by forming an apple, symbolic of the organization’s educational mission and alluding to New York City’s most well-known moniker.