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New Work: Sundance Institute

Animated version of the new Sundance Institute identity.

Founded by the actor and director Robert Redford in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, in 1981, Sundance Institute has grown into a global nonprofit cultural organization that advances the work of storytellers in a variety of disciplines. Best known for the Sundance Film Festival, one of the largest showcases for independent cinema in the world, the Institute is also a resource for thousands of independent film, theater and music artists through its year-round labs, programs and initiatives including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Theatre Program, Creative Producing Initiative, Film Music Program, #ArtistServices, and many more.

Pentagram’s Paula Scher has created a new identity for Sundance Institute and a flexible identity system that can be customized for the Institute’s many programs and initiatives. Bold, iconic and memorable, the identity is based around the simple form of a bright yellow circle, a play on the Institute’s name. Scher has also designed the graphic identity for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

New Work: ‘A Country of Cities’

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In his new book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, the architect and urban planner Vishaan Chakrabarti argues that well-designed cities are the key to solving many of the country’s challenges, from the sluggish economy and imperiled environment to rising public health costs and growing social inequality. Chakrabarti suggests that, contrary to what many Americans believe, urban density is actually better for the health and happiness of the country, as well as of the planet, and the trend of fast-growing cities can be harnessed to create an “infrastructure of opportunity.” The highly readable book was recently selected as one of Designers & Books’ 10 Notable Books of 2013 (so far) and will be the subject of a special Oculus Book Talk with Chakrabarti tonight at the Center for Architecture.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Britt Cobb worked on the design of the book with SHoP Architects’ Omar Toro-Vaca and Ryan Lovett, and Metropolis Books publisher Diana Murphy, helping to establish a clear, cogent framework that showcases the author’s manifesto. Chakrabarti makes his case simultaneously in words and pictures: an intelligent, closely reasoned thesis, accompanied by a series of 100 diagrams and infographics that bring the thesis to life.

New Work: Stanford Business Magazine


The Stanford Graduate School of Business is one of the most prestigious MBA programs in the world and is currently ranked as the No. 1 business school in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. (It shares the top spot with Harvard.) Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford GSB is part of a community that includes many of the world’s most forward-looking companies, and the school has an ambitious vision of business as a force for social good. Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and team have redesigned Stanford Business magazine, the quarterly alumni publication, with a new format inspired by Stanford’s commitment to innovation.

Hayman worked closely with Stanford Business’s new editor-in-chief Michael Freedman to develop the redesign. Freedman joined the publication from a background in news journalism, and true to the school’s mission, has re-imagined the alumni magazine with a format that is lively, engaging and impactful, and helps connect GSB to the world at large. The first issue of the redesign was launched in the spring, and the new Summer 2013 issue is out now.

New Work: Makr Shakr

Makr Shakr in action at this year’s Google I/O conference and Milan Design Week.

As any cocktail connoisseur knows, mixology is a precise science, and everyone has their own way of customizing their favorite drink. Makr Shakr was an installation at this year’s Google I/O conference that used robotic barmen to mix drinks in approximately one googol (that’s 10 to the power of 100) different crowd-sourced combinations. Developed by the MIT Senseable City Lab in collaboration with the Coca-Cola Company and Bacardi Rum, the project featured an identity, web application and data visualization designed by Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and team.

Conference attendees downloaded the Makr Shakr app on their handheld devices and mixed and selected ingredients as their own virtual barmen, then watched as the cocktails were crafted by three KUKA robots and delivered via conveyor belt. As the drinks were prepared, a digital display behind the bar showed the queue of drinks in the works, profiles of the users, and the precise mixture of ingredients in their drinks, as well as what cocktails and ingredients were trending across the crowd.

Awards: 50 Books / 50 Covers 2012

Books are one of our favorite things to design, and we’re happy to announce that several of our projects from the past year were recently announced as winners in the 50 Books/50 Covers competition, presented by AIGA and Design Observer in collaboration with Designers & Books. The awards honor the 50 overall best-designed books and 50 best-designed covers of the year, and were selected from more than 1,200 entries submitted from a dozen countries.

Abbott Miller had two winners place in the top 50 books: Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, designed for last year’s Costume Institute exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Doris Duke’s Shangri La: A House in Paradise, the catalogue for the exhibition that originated at the Museum of Arts and Design and travels next month to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The 50 books section also honored Paula Scher’s design of Typography 33, the Type Directors Club 58 annual, which used her exuberant graphic identity for the competition. Finally, Michael Bierut and his team were represented by A Wilderness of Error, Errol Morris’ exhaustive investigation into the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case, which was named as both one of the best books and best covers of the year.

Congratulations to all our designers, clients and teams for their fantastic work!

New Work: 150 Charles Street


New York’s luxury real estate market continues to boom with no signs of slowing. If you seek proof, look no further than the residential condominiums at 150 Charles Street, a project which is completely sold out despite still being under construction. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team worked with the project’s developer, the Witkoff Group, and marketing agents Douglas Elliman to create the 150 Charles’s brand identity and marketing materials.

Located in the Far West Village, 150 Charles combines the historic charm of the neighborhood with state-of-the-art architecture. The identity and marketing for the project were designed to support this image of understated elegance.

New Work: ‘FitNation’

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Architecture and urban design have become important tools in the fight against obesity and related chronic diseases. Practical changes to the design of buildings, towns and cities—locating stairs for visibility, creating networks of well-marked bike lines, designing streetscapes that are inviting for pedestrians—can help encourage physical activity and make the built environment more conducive to healthier lifestyles. Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and team have been involved in several projects related to these initiatives, including the design of the Active Design Guidelines, issued by the New York City Department of Design and Construction in 2010, and the creation of the graphic identity for the Center for Active Design, a new non-profit organization announced yesterday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The Mayor has signed an Executive Order requiring all City agencies to use active design strategies when performing all new construction and major renovation projects.

These strategies are currently highlighted in FitNation, an exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York. Hayman and team have created the graphics for the exhibition, extending their design for the Active Design Guidelines and the recent FitCity conferences into playful supergraphics that illustrate the different ways environments can help people stay physically fit. The exhibition was designed in collaboration with Abruzzo Bodziak Architects and is scheduled to travel following its run at the Center.