Michael Bierut’s posters for the Yale School of Architecture follow simple design parameters: one size, one color (black), all type (in hundreds of different fonts since the series began in 1998). The poster announcing the school’s fall 2012 calendar of events adds another graphic system to the mix. The poster uses only News Gothic—the one typeface that has appeared in all the school’s posters—with every word set at the same point size, the size that’s been used for small text on the posters since the series began nearly 15 years ago. Each event or block of content is constrained to one or more lines and fully justified. Once all the lines were set, the leading was adjusted to do the same vertically.
The result is a study in restraint, with emphasis provided only with underlines and the use of bold and light type weights. “This more or less breaks every rule I’ve ever known in poster design,” admits Bierut. “No scale, no contrast, nothing to be seen from a distance except the texture of information.” With the poster series so well established with Yale’s audience, Bierut felt the risk was worth taking.
Pentagram’s Natasha Jen recently collaborated with SOFTlab on the design of an environmental installation for this year’s Beaux Arts Ball, presented by The Architectural League of New York. The Ball is one of the architecture and design community’s biggest events and is hosted each year in a different historic and architecturally interesting New York interior. This year’s Ball was held in the iconic Williamsburgh Savings Bank in Brooklyn and featured the theme of “Tender,” inspired by the building’s history as a center of financial exchange and the party as a place of personal interaction.
For the installation, SOFTlab suspended a net filled with pillow-like mylar balloons in the bank’s soaring central space. Adding to the glittering atmosphere, Jen and her team created hundreds of iridescent tickets that hung spinning from the netting, within the reach of partygoers. Inspired by the party theme, the tickets acted as a kind of currency that gave guests admission to a special sound installation (designed by David Rife of Arup) located in the building’s basement. The tickets featured different entry times, and partygoers could trade the tickets with each other to attend the installation at the time they wanted. The times appeared as a cutout graphic code inspired by the building’s famous clock tower.
Set at the intersection where design, architecture, and books meet, the Designers & Books Fair will include 35 U.S. and European design book publishers and booksellers displaying and selling the newest titles for the Fall and upcoming holiday season as well as important backlist titles. Special Fair discounts up to 40% will be available on many books. There will also be rare and out-of-print book dealers; demonstrations of book arts, including calligraphy, letterpress printing, and bookbinding; book signings; and programming in two auditoriums adjacent to the Exhibition Hall that will include presentations, interviews, and panel discussions with a high-profile roster of designers, curators and writers.
Advance tickets are still available for the Pentagram symposium. Register now!
New York is currently celebrating its second Archtober, the annual month-long celebration of architecture and design that takes place during October. The festival presents conferences, lectures, tours, exhibitions, films and other events that focus on the importance of architecture and the built environment in New York. Participating organizations and events include the AIA, the Cooper-Hewitt, the Museum of Arts and Design, Open House New York, the Architecture & Design Film Festival, the Designers & Books Fair, Bring to Light, and many more.
Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and his team have created the graphics for this year’s festival, building on the identity they created for last year’s Archtober. The identity features a yellow frame that suggests a box on a calendar or a space on an architectural plan. The second Archtober falls in 2012, and this year’s graphics add the shapes of a number “2” to the mix, along with the color blue.
On Saturday morning, October 27 at FIT’s Katie Murphy Auditorium, Michael Bierut, Abbott Miller, Eddie Opara, Emily Oberman, Paula Scher and DJ Stout will take the stage at the first Designers and Books Fair to talk about the challenges and pleasures of designing books. Between them, the six partners have designed everything from large-scale corporate identities to exhibitions to motion graphics to interactive displays. But they all concede there is something special about designing that classic design object, the book.
At FIT on October 27, each of the designers will present a case history and discuss his or her unique approach to book design. In anticipation of that special event, Bierut, Miller, Opara, Oberman, Scher and Stout were asked to talk about what makes books special, why they like designing them, and why books are likely to be around forever. You can register for the Designers and Books Fair event here, and read more about book design at Pentagram after the jump.
In “The Alphabet of Nations,” They Might Be Giants—the Brooklyn-based duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell—help kids learn geography and the alphabet in a catchy singalong that turns the ABC’s into a list of names of countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The band has recorded a special version of the song for the 10th anniversary deluxe reissue of their beloved first children’s album, “No!” (2002). To celebrate the rerelease, Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and team have collaborated with TMBG to create a new video for “The Alphabet of Nations” that features images crowdsourced from fans around the globe.
For the band and the designers, the project represented the opportunity to do something that was not only for fun, but also for good. The video was made in collaboration with and to benefit the Global Fund for Children, the international children’s charity organization. GFC invests in innovative grassroots groups around the world that serve children in need. To help raise money for the Global Fund, TMBG and Oberman have also created limited edition posters and t-shirts based on the video graphics. All profits go to support the Global Fund for Children. Get yours here!