Pentagram’s DJ Stout and his team at the Austin office rebranded Maudie’s Tex-Mex three years ago and have continued working with the iconic local restaurant chain ever since. Maudie’s, which began as a tiny Mexican food cafe in a strip-mall shopping center not far from the Austin office, has now expanded to six locations. Tex-Mex is an original Texas invention, a close cousin to the traditional cuisine of the Lone Star State’s neighbor to the south, but a truly unique culinary art all its own. Maudie’s has continued the Tex-Mex tradition but with a very “Austin” twist: It is the only all-natural Tex-Mex restaurant in the region. Unlike its Mexican brethren, Maudie’s uses all-natural beef and chicken and organic eggs. Maudie’s has mastered the art of Tex-Mex, and Pentagram has mastered the art of Maudie’s.
Pentagram is pleased to announce that several of our projects in higher education have been honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in its 2013 Circle of Excellence Awards. CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and their departments in alumni relations, communications, development and marketing.
DJ Stout and his team at Pentagram Austin collaborated on award-winning projects from several schools. Middlebury Magazine won the Grand Gold Award in the Design category for the cover of its Summer 2012 issue, the first of Stout’s redesign. The magazine also received a Bronze for Periodical Design. EXEL, the yearly research magazine published by Drexel University, received a Gold Award in the Annual Magazines category. And The USC Dornsife 100, a special publication designed for the capital campaign of The USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, was honored with the Gold Award in the Institutional Relations Publications category.
Partner DJ Stout and designer Carla Delgado in Pentagram’s Austin office have recently completed a new identity and a rebranding of Oklahoma City University (OCU). The private urban college, located in the Uptown District of its namesake city, is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and offers a wide variety of degrees in the liberal arts, fine arts, science and business. The only Oklahoma institution listed in the top tier of the regional, master’s-level university category by U.S. News and World Report, OCU is also listed in Forbes’ “Best Christian Colleges” and “100 Best College Buys.”
Oklahoma City University is also known for its top-notch dance, music and theater programs and its impressive track-record of placing graduates in Broadway musicals and theatrical productions, most notably in the lineups of the Radio City Rockettes. In addition to its performing arts prowess OCU is renowned for its many beauty pageant contestants, contributing $2.2 million in educational scholarships to more than 340 pageant contestants over the last 55 years. Fondly dubbed “Miss America U” for its tradition of winning pageants, OCU boasts 24 Miss Oklahomas and holds the record for Miss America winners. A larger than life-size bronze statue portraying the school’s three former Miss Americas—Jane Jayroe, Susan Powell and Shawntel Smith—stands guard at the entrance to the campus.
Pecha Kucha, which roughly translates to “chit-chat” in Japanese, is a creative speaking event that originated in Tokyo. The unique format, a kind of speed-dating version of a TED talk, requires each of 10 guest speakers to develop their presentations within the strict parameters of 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. The slides are set on a timer out of the control of the presenters, so the cumulative effect of 10 short presentations, just over six minutes each, leads to a fast and furious evening of entertainment and creative inspiration.
Pecha Kucha was originally brought to Austin by Herman Dyal and Carla Fraser, and Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout and Lana McGilvray became the directors in 2011. Three or four of the events are organized every year, and to date there have been 16 Pecha Kucha evenings in Austin, with number 17 on the way this Thursday, April 18th. McGilvray and Stout took the helm at PK 10 and for that program Stout and designer Stu Taylor designed a poster that was given away at the event. The two Pentagrammers continued to design posters for every Pecha Kucha evening after that and have now created a series of eight collectible posters. All of the posters have been silkscreen printed by Tony Diaz of Industry Print Shop, who just happens to be one of the 10 guest speakers at the upcoming PK 17.
Saint Mary’s of California, a Catholic liberal arts college nestled in the picturesque Moraga Valley twenty miles east of San Francisco, wanted its alumni magazine completely overhauled, so the magazine’s staff decided to call a couple of Texans. When Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout, a fifth generation Texan, and designer Carla Delgado, an Austin native and University of Texas Longhorn, rode into town (actually they flew), they found one of the oldest, most beautiful campuses on the West Coast, an institution rooted in the life and work of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Christian Brothers and the patron saint of teachers.
The statue of La Salle, one of the most recognizable icons of the college (next to its championship basketball team), graces the cover of the redesign launch issue, which hit mailboxes earlier this month. But the traditional printed book La Salle is normally holding has been updated with a more modern book—a MacBook Air, to be exact. The juxtaposition of the Old World bronze statue and the sleek laptop computer is symbolic of the alumni magazine’s transformation to a thoughtful new contemporary design developed by Pentagram. It also reflects the primary theme of the issue—the national debate over the value of higher education in today’s fast and furious, high-tech world. It’s a thorny subject for a liberal arts college to discuss at all, much less feature on the cover of its primary piece of print communication, but the launch issue addresses the theme in multiple ways.
“The folks at Saint Mary’s told us the school’s guiding ethos was based on open dialogue and debate,” says Stout. “I’ve heard that before, but to their credit the magazine’s staff actually embraced our suggestions to put those lofty ideals to the test in the all important debut of the redesign.”
Pentagram’s Austin office invites you to join us for Pecha Kucha 16 this evening, March 11, at 8:20 pm. Tonight’s event, the 16th Pecha Kucha held in Austin, is being touted as “The Unofficial Kickoff to the South By Southwest Music Festival.” The event will be held under a big tent in the parking lot of our building at 1508 West Fifth Street and is free and open to the public.
Pecha Kucha is a unique speaking format that features ten presenters from a variety of creative endeavors. Pecha Kucha, which means chit chat in Japanese, originated in Tokyo and now has chapters all over the US. The Austin chapter was originally founded by Herman Dyal and Carla Fraser and is now co-directed by Pentagram partner DJ Stout and Lana McGilvray. The challenging speaking format allows each speaker 20 slides which are set on a timer, beyond their control, of 20 seconds per slide. The unique format forces the presenters to tell their story within a six-minute time slot, and the combination of the quick narratives and the variety of disciplines makes for a very lively and enlightening evening of entertainment. The Austin event, which is free and open to the public, routinely attracts a crowd of 400 to 500 people.
Tonight’s lineup of local presenters takes on a distinctly South By Southwest theme. “SouthBy has been getting bigger every year and has become internationally recognized so we thought it would be cool to do a SXSW Pecha Kucha,” says Stout. “We’ve got speakers representing all three of the main SouthBy categories, interactive, film and music.” This evening’s presenters are music composer Graham Reynolds, singer-songwriter Charlie Faye, music photographer Mathew Sturtevant, animator Ron Pippen, pianist Patches King, guitar slinger Lance Keltner, music poster artist Noel Waggener, painter Jan Heaton, tech-wiz and philanthropist Richard Bagdonas, and rock and roll legend Jon Dee Graham.
Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout, designer Stu Taylor and developer Hunter Cross have redesigned the alumni magazine of Vanderbilt University and its website. The completely revamped publication and its online counterpart launched earlier this month.
Vanderbilt is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and railroad magnate “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt, who gave the school its initial $1 million endowment even though he’d never been to the South. The Commodore hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War. Vanderbilt now enrolls approximately 12,000 students from all 50 states and over 90 foreign countries in four undergraduate and six graduate and professional schools.
“The first time I stepped foot on the Vanderbilt campus was in 1988,” says Stout. “I was in Nashville for a Texas Monthly press check and I heard loud music wafting toward my hotel from the direction of the university. When I walked over to the campus I was surprised to find the Red Hot Chili Peppers dancing and screaming and running around the quad half naked. It wasn’t at all what I expected to find in the Country Music Capital of the World. At that moment I never imagined I’d design a magazine for that same university 25 years later.”
When Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout and his girlfriend Lana McGilvray decided to get married last summer she asked him for a logo and a website design instead of the traditional wedding ring. The marriage ceremony at the Mean Eyed Cat, a former chainsaw repair shop turned into a Johnny Cash tribute bar, was a bit untraditional to begin with, but this request really took the cake (there wasn’t a cake either, by the way). McGilvray had recently joined a public relations firm called Blast as a partner and needed a new identity and website. Stout enlisted the help of his colleagues Stu Taylor, who was the lead designer on the wedding project, and Hunter Cross, who developed and programmed the website.
“I think that put a lot of pressure on my guys,” says Stout. “The state of my marital bliss was riding firmly on their shoulders.”
On the flight back from their honeymoon in Paris, Stout scribbled the idea for the new logo on the back of a barf bag, and that was all it took. Lana loved it, but the website took a bit longer.