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New Work: Jazz at Lincoln Center

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Ten years ago Pentagram’s Paula Scher designed the graphic identity for Jazz at Lincoln Center, the country’s premier institution for jazz performance. Now Scher has revisited her classic identity with an update that riffs on the existing logo and expands it into custom typography for the institution.

The refreshed identity simplifies the original wordmark to make it more contemporary. The original identity accompanied Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2004 move into its home at the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, several blocks away from Lincoln Center proper. Now that Jazz is recognized as a major cultural institution in its own right, the update clears away the “at Lincoln Center” and leaves the organization as exactly what it is: Jazz.

New Work: Signage for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

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When all New York’s creatures great and small make their pilgrimage to the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine this Sunday for its annual St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals, they’ll encounter a new set of commandments. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and team have created a series of signs for the Cathedral that gently remind visitors to curb and leash thy dogs. The signs use the identity we designed for the institution, which employs the custom font Divine, a redrawn version of Frederic Goudy’s 1928 Blackletter. The signs will be a permanent addition to the Cathedral grounds, a popular spot for walking dogs in the neighborhood.

Pentagram Papers 43: Drawing McCarthy

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During a visit to her parents’ house in Yonkers, New York, Pentagram’s Emily Oberman made an unusual discovery: a cache of extraordinary pen-and-ink drawings made by her mother, the artist and illustrator Arline Simon, that depict the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954. Drawn directly from the hearings as they aired on live television, the portraits brilliantly capture the likenesses of the key players in the proceedings, as well as the immediacy and impact of a watershed event that captivated the nation. The full series of 33 drawings have been collected in the new Pentagram Papers 43: Drawing McCarthy, designed by Oberman and published in advance of the 60th anniversary of the hearings next spring.

The book includes an introductory essay by Victor Navasky, former editor of The Nation, current chair of the Columbia Journalism Review and author of Naming Names, the definitive account of the Hollywood blacklist and the Red Scare in 1950s America. Oberman contributes an essay about her mother.

New Work: ‘Terra Nova’

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The US spends roughly $1 billion a day overseas on foreign oil instead of investing the funds at home, where the economy badly needs it. At the same time, our dependence on oil from unstable countries endangers national security, and carbon dioxide emissions from burning oil contribute to climate change. In Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs, the scientist Eric W. Sanderson looks at how three powerful forces that drove American prosperity for the better part of a century are now detrimentally affecting the country’s quality of life. The book is a sequel of sorts to Mannahatta, Sanderson’s reimagining of what the island of Manhattan was like before the first settlers arrived. In Terra Nova, he looks ahead, and with a larger scope, envisioning what the US would be like if our dependence on oil, automobiles and urban sprawl were to end, and a new ecology was formed that valued the land, encouraged well-designed cities, and depended on America’s natural advantages in resources like wind, sun and heat, as well as ingenuity.

Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and team have created a design for Terra Nova that helps the book make its case through a clear, cogent layout and a series of 72 highly detailed diagrams. Sanderson’s writing is smart, creative and lively, and Opara has developed a corollary in engaging, user-friendly information graphics that complement the highly readable text. More than supplemental illustrations, the data visualizations are a key element of the book, helping Sanderson construct his arguments and communicate his vision.

New Work: ‘The Queen Latifah Show’


Opening title sequence for “The Queen Latifah Show.”

This fall the actress, musician and all-around entertainer Queen Latifah has launched her own talk show, “The Queen Latifah Show,” which recently premiered to strong ratings and good reviews. Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and team have created the identity, opening titles, bumpers and other graphics for the program.

The opening titles of a show set its tone and are especially important for a new series, which quickly needs to give its prospective audience an idea of what to expect. For “The Queen Latifah Show,” Oberman has designed a sequence that instantly conveys Latifah’s friendly, ebullient persona against the sunny backdrop of Los Angeles, where the show is taped.