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New Work: ‘Surf Texas’

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“If God meant for Texans to ski, he would have made bullshit white” is an anti-Texas bumper sticker that appeared in New Mexico and Colorado in the 1970s and 80s. You might think a similar derogatory sentiment could be said about Texans and surfing, but you’d be wrong. There are no mountains to ski on in the Lone Star State, but there is abundant coastline along the Gulf of Mexico—over 367 miles of it, to be exact. The Texas Gulf Coast is not Cape Cod or Malibu (nor does it want to be), but it does have a rugged beauty and charm all its own. And it has an enthusiastic and devoted surf culture that has not been fully documented until now.

Partner DJ Stout and lead designer Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office have designed one of the first serious visual explorations of the Texas Gulf coast surf scene which begins hitting bookstores this week. Surf Texas, published by the University of Texas Press with a foreword by Stephen Harrigan, showcases the lovingly crafted, black-and-white images of Austin photographer Kenny Braun. An exhibition and book release party for Surf Texas, Braun’s first monograph, will be held at the prestigious Stephen L. Clark Gallery in Austin this Saturday, March 22, from 6-9 PM.

New Work: University of Colorado Boulder

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Last month the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) began unveiling a new visual strategy created by Pentagram. Partner DJ Stout and designers Kristen Keiser and Stu Taylor in Pentagram’s Austin office worked closely with the university’s communications team led by Frances Draper, Michael T. Campbell and Jon Leslie to develop the comprehensive branding initiative.

An updated identity scheme designed by Landor Associates was adopted by the University in 2010. The University of Colorado system includes CU Denver, CU Colorado Springs, CU Anschutz Medical Campus (in Denver) and the original campus in Boulder. Stout and his team were engaged by CU-Boulder a year ago this month and tasked with the challenge of developing a visual strategy that would distinguish the mothership from the other three campuses in the University of Colorado system. The new strategy needed to convey the distinctive personality of CU-Boulder without violating the systemwide identity guidelines developed by Landor.

“The trick was coming up with something that expressed the unique, quirky character of the Boulder campus while wearing the straitjacket of the new identity system,” says Stout. “I felt a little bit like Houdini at times.”

Update: Loyola Marymount University Magazine

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Pentagram partner DJ Stout and designer Barrett Fry in our Austin office have been designing LMU Magazine, the magazine of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, since they reworked it in 2010. At the time, the Austin team changed the publication’s name from Vistas to LMU Magazine, created LMU Magazine Online, and developed an LMU Magazine App for tablets and mobile. Stout and Fry have collaborated with the magazine’s talented Art Director Maureen Pacino and Editor Joe Waklee-Lynch since the launch issue of the redesign. The new Fall 2013 issue includes a feature on LMU alumnus Van Partible, who created the cartoon classic “Johnny Bravo” while he was a student. Partible sports a “Bravo-esque” bouffant on the front cover of the publication, and his two-dimensional alter-ego shows off the animator’s towering inspiration on the back cover (watch a short film about the cover shoot on LMU Magazine Online).

There’s a New Girl in Town

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Partner DJ Stout and designer Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office have designed a new sign and additional branding materials for the second location of Lucy’s Fried Chicken on Burnet Road. The sign Stout and Fry created for the original South Congress Avenue restaurant in 2012 featured a dark-haired Lucy holding a chicken leg and kicking one of her own human legs through the magic of old-school neon animation. The Pentagram team worked with Austin’s retro-sign guru Evan Voyles on that sign and the new one, which features a sassy redhead. Owner James Holmes named the restaurant after his grandmother who taught him how to make fried chicken.

“At first he was thinking it would just be the exact same sign,” says Stout. “But we suggested introducing a new girl, maybe her sister, for the second location. This time Lucy’s holding a bucket of chicken and wearing a blue dress with white polka-dots.”