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Summer Squeeze

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A new banner floats over the hazy days of summer at Pentagram’s New York studio, continuing the long-running tradition of typographic flags on our façade at 204 Fifth Avenue. Designed by Michael Bierut and team, this season’s model squeezes our name into a 6 ft by 12.5 ft field, with the custom lettering stretched long and tall on one side, wide and stacked on the other.

NYC BigApps 2013 Winners Announced

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Pentagram’s identity and graphics for NYC BigApps 2013 provided a colorful backdrop for the competition’s fourth annual awards ceremony, held on June 20 at the IAC Building in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced seven winning teams in the competition, including Grand Prize winner HealthyOut, an app that helps users locate healthy meals at nearby restaurants, based on criteria like calories, cuisine and ingredients. (Healthy eating is, of course, one of Mayor Bloomberg’s signature issues.) The winning teams will share $150,000 in cash prizes and receive support in launching startups based around their apps.

‘Pentagram Remixed’ Opens at Ningbo Design Biennial

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In honor of our recent 40th anniversary, Pentagram was invited to present an exhibition at the 7th Ningbo International Design Biennial in Ningbo, China. Conceived and designed by Natasha Jen and her team at Pentagram New York, Pentagram Remixed puts a new spin on our portfolio to locate the ideas and influences that have guided our work across four decades. The exhibition opened on June 14 at the Ningbo Museum of Art and remains on view through July 14.

Rather than stage a traditional historical survey, Jen wanted to place Pentagram’s work in unusual contexts that would reflect our constantly evolving point of view and allow visitors to make their own connections and associations. The exhibition presents different aspects of our portfolio in a series of “zones” that flow together to create an impression of our collaborative and interdisciplinary approach.

New Work: NYC Wayfinding

Finding one’s way through the streets of New York when coming up out of the subway or walking through an unfamiliar neighborhood can be confusing, even for the most seasoned New Yorker. On Monday the New York City Department of Transportation introduced WalkNYC, a new program of pedestrian maps that makes it easier to navigate the city streets. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan unveiled the initiative’s first signs at a news conference in Chinatown, where four maps were installed over the weekend. In addition to Chinatown, the first phase of the program will be implemented this summer in Midtown Manhattan, Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and Long Island City in Queens, with more to follow next year in other parts of the city. The maps are already installed on over 300 kiosks of the CitiBike bike-share program.

Pentagram helped create the graphic language of the maps, working on the project as part of PentaCityGroup, a special consortium of designers that also includes wayfinding specialists CityID, industrial designers Billings Jackson Design, engineers and urban planners RBA Group, and cartographers and geographic information specialists T-Kartor. The team worked closely with DOT and the city’s local Business Improvement Districts (BID) and other institutions and agencies to develop the program.

New Work: ‘Formica Forever’

This year Formica Group celebrates the 100th anniversary of Formica® Laminate, the iconic and ubiquitous material that surfaces millions of spaces around the world and is loved by architects, designers and consumers for its versatility and high performance. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has designed Formica Forever, a commemorative book that tells the story of Formica’s century-long evolution through cultural shifts, technical innovations and global growth.

Designed for a wide readership, Formica Forever functions as a serious history but also captures the inherent playfulness and modernity of a material that is synonymous with bright colors and highly graphic patterns. The design of the book is inspired by a Formica brand laminate swatch book from the 1960s with perforated pages, and features over 400 archival images that include advertising, photographs and other brand ephemera from all over the world, culled from the Formica archives and the Library of Congress.

“We didn’t want a cumbersome coffee-table book; we wanted to create something celebratory rather than grandiose, authoritative but also lively,” says Miller.

Formica Forever is the latest in a special campaign designed by Miller and his Pentagram partners Michael Bierut and Daniel Weil that pays homage to Formica and its century of innovation, design and cultural impact. Miller has also designed the Anniversary Collection, a series of Formica laminates launched earlier this year that are inspired by the company’s long history and the seamless quality of its product. The book is published in association with Metropolis Books and will be available in early August at bookstores worldwide, as well as online.