On Thursday, October 11, the Austin office celebrated Pentagram’s 40th anniversary and the publication of our newest Pentagram Paper, Cowboy Poetry, in typically grand Texas fashion. Over 300 guests, dressed in “cowboy cocktail” attire, gathered under a big-as-Texas tent erected in a parking lot adjacent to the Pentagram office, where they were entertained by traditional western songs and cowboy poetry readings, and two-stepped to the rockabilly stylings of Lucas Hudgins and the First Cousins. Texas-style food and libations were provided by some of Pentagram Austin’s favorite local clients including Maudie’s Tex-Mex, Salt Lick Barbecue, Lucy’s Fried Chicken, Uchi, The Pink Pig, Richard’s Rainwater and Republic Tequila.
The inaugural Designers & Books Fair, set to launch on the last weekend of October at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, promises to be a historic event. Pentagram is proud to participate in the Fair with a three-hour symposium co-sponsored by Design Observer Group on the morning of Saturday, October 27, featuring six of our partners. Michael Bierut, Abbott Miller, Emily Oberman, Eddie Opara, Paula Scher, and DJ Stout will each talk about the joys and challenges of designing books on science, fashion, information overload, photography, murder, and water conservation. The morning will include detailed case histories and special guests, including Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris, who will talk about working with Pentagram on the creation of his new book, A Wilderness of Error.
Set at the intersection where design, architecture, and books meet, the Designers & Books Fair will include 35 U.S. and European design book publishers and booksellers displaying and selling the newest titles for the Fall and upcoming holiday season as well as important backlist titles. Special Fair discounts up to 40% will be available on many books. There will also be rare and out-of-print book dealers; demonstrations of book arts, including calligraphy, letterpress printing, and bookbinding; book signings; and programming in two auditoriums adjacent to the Exhibition Hall that will include presentations, interviews, and panel discussions with a high-profile roster of designers, curators and writers.
Advance tickets are still available for the Pentagram symposium. Register now!
On Saturday morning, October 27 at FIT’s Katie Murphy Auditorium, Michael Bierut, Abbott Miller, Eddie Opara, Emily Oberman, Paula Scher and DJ Stout will take the stage at the first Designers and Books Fair to talk about the challenges and pleasures of designing books. Between them, the six partners have designed everything from large-scale corporate identities to exhibitions to motion graphics to interactive displays. But they all concede there is something special about designing that classic design object, the book.
At FIT on October 27, each of the designers will present a case history and discuss his or her unique approach to book design. In anticipation of that special event, Bierut, Miller, Opara, Oberman, Scher and Stout were asked to talk about what makes books special, why they like designing them, and why books are likely to be around forever. You can register for the Designers and Books Fair event here, and read more about book design at Pentagram after the jump.
Pentagram partner DJ Stout and lead designer Barrett Fry in the Austin office have designed a new athletic identity for FIT in New York City. Yes, that’s right, an athletic identity. FIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology, is an internationally recognized college known for its exceptional curriculum in art, design, communications, business, and fashion, of course, but not for its sports teams. Over the years, however, FIT has developed a first-rate athletic program. The school fields 13 intercollegiate teams in such sports as volleyball, soccer, tennis, track and field, half-marathon, cross country, swimming and table tennis, plus a dance company. FIT competes against 520 other schools in Region XV of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Five of its teams finished in the Top 10 for the country. The college also boasts two individual national champions—one in high jump and another in women’s tennis. FIT athletes’ prowess was also recognized when the men’s swimming team and the women’s track and field team were named 2012 National Academic Teams of the year.
What the FIT Tigers didn’t have until now was a consistent, well-designed identity. Like a lot of schools, FIT had adopted a hodgepodge of clip-art tiger logos and generic typefaces, whatever the sports-supply vendors had in stock when the school ordered uniforms, so the look of their athletic teams was amateurish and forgettable at best.
Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and his team in New York have worked with FIT on a number of projects over the years, including the development of the college’s main institutional identity system, print collateral and a campus signage and wayfinding system that was installed over the summer. When Bierut got the call to do FIT’s athletic logo he enlisted the help of Stout and his team in Austin because of their experience designing collegiate identities. Stout and Bierut met with FIT last December and previewed a sampling of the Tiger’s previous athletic gear and uniforms. “When I saw their old uniforms it dawned on me that this was a great opportunity to create something really unique,” says Stout. “The FIT uniform was the perfect cross-pollination of sports, design and fashion. That kind of project doesn’t come along very often.”
Pentagram Austin’s DJ Stout and designers Barrett Fry and Carla Delgado have redesigned Middlebury College’s main publication, Middlebury Magazine, arriving in mailboxes this month. Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located in the scenic Champlain Valley of Vermont. One of the “Little Ivies,” the school was founded in 1800 and is one of the oldest and most highly regarded liberal arts colleges in the United States.
In addition to its core undergraduate program, Middlebury is known for its emphasis on literature, writing, and programs in modern language. The Middlebury College Language Schools offer instruction in over ten languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The Bread Loaf School of English, based at the college’s Bread Loaf Mountain campus, is a summer graduate program in English literature, and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference is one of the oldest writer’s conferences in the country. The celebrated American poet Robert Frost was a major influence on the Bread Loaf School, returning to the school every summer starting in 1921 for 42 years.
Middlebury’s liberal arts leanings, its excellence in language instruction, and its devotion to English literature, and writing in particular, influenced Stout and his team and provided them with a solid thematic direction for the redesign of Middlebury Magazine. “I wanted the publication to look literary and intelligent, like the school itself,” says Stout. “We tried to give the magazine the look of classic literature—stately, simple, confident—but with a contemporary twist.” Working with Middlebury editor Matt Jennings and art director Pamela Fogg, the Pentagram team completely reorganized the publication’s sections and created new content as well.
Quick Link: Perot Museum Identity Reviewed on Brand New
A towering pair of three-dimensional brackets were the centerpiece at a glittering press conference last month to unveil an innovative identity system for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, currently under construction in Dallas’ downtown Victory Park. The new identity, developed by Pentagram’s DJ Stout and Michael Bierut, uses a pair of distinctive red brackets in place of the letter “O” in the name Perot as a frame where a wide range of iconography can move in and out of the logotype over time.
“While the globe within the brackets will be the Museum’s institutional mark, this is actually a dynamic logo,” said Museum marketing director Beth Hook. “The Perot Museum will have the flexibility to switch out the content within the brackets and fill it with innumerable images, reflecting a multitude of science topics and an array of Museum programs, services and collections.”