The searchlights of Twentieth Century Fox are one of the most recognized icons in the world. Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and Emily Oberman have drawn on this rich heritage and Fox’s contemporary innovations in media to create the logo and develop the name for 21st Century Fox. The new media and entertainment company will be established following the proposed separation of News Corporation into two companies. 21st Century Fox will serve as the umbrella company for Twentieth Century Fox and the rest of the group’s entertainment and media properties, all of which will retain their existing well-known names and logos.
Pentagram worked closely with the 21st Century Fox team on the development of the identity, which is designed to honor the creative legacy of Twentieth Century Fox and celebrate the company’s vital future. The name and symbol distill the elements of Fox’s familiar searchlights-and-monument logo into a dynamic new identity. The 21st Century Fox logo features a pair of sweeping searchlights that suggest entertainment, broadcasting and limitless possibilities within a circle shape inspired by a lens. Iconic and distinctive, the symbol is accompanied by a wordmark set in strong, stacked lettering that is derived from the typographic pedestal of the Twentieth Century Fox logo and Fox Broadcasting’s wordmark.
Emily Oberman designed the branding and commercial for Ablixa, the drug in the new film ‘Side Effects.’ (That’s Emily’s voice in the ad.)
Feeling tired, depressed or not like yourself? Perhaps you’d like to try Ablixa, the wonder drug at the center of “Side Effects,” the new film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns. In the film, a psychological thriller, Emily Taylor (played by Rooney Mara) is a depressive who is prescribed Ablixa by Jude Law’s Dr. Jonathan Banks, with deadly results. Opening today, the movie also stars Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones and is Soderbergh’s “final” film as he retires to other pursuits.
The fictional drug Ablixa plays a pivotal role in the film, and the filmmakers turned to Pentagram’s Emily Oberman, a friend of Burns, to create a realistic identity and branding for the anti-depressant. Oberman and her team developed a program that has all the hallmarks of big pharma branding, including an scarily upbeat logo that appears everywhere in the film; pill packaging, marketing literature, a website and promotional items like mugs and pens; and a commercial for the drug, narrated by Oberman herself in its online version. Pentagram’s New York office briefly appears in the film as Mara’s workplace, where her character Emily sits at Emily Oberman’s desk. (Spooky!)
In his review of “Side Effects,” A.O. Scott of The New York Times gives the ad a rave: “The embedded commercial is a perfect parody of something that has become very familiar in recent years: a vague and seductive montage of sad and happy scenes accompanied by new-agey music and, interrupting the inspiring sales pitch, a sotto voce recitation of warnings and possible complications.” The Ablixa identity is so authentic it merited a critique on Brand New, where many commenters thought they were looking at an actual brand.
“We take a great deal of satisfaction from reports that most people in the audience seem to believe that this imaginary drug is real,” says Oberman.
What’s in 40 years? For Pentagram’s recent 40th anniversary party in New York, partner Emily Oberman and her team assembled a montage of classic movie moments from the past four decades of Academy Award winners for Best Picture. The designers looked at hundreds of sequences from all 40 films, from “The Godfather” to “The Artist,” and edited together 40 cheers, 40 kisses, 40 dance moves, 40 ka-booms, and more. The clips were projected during our party, where they helped inspire many new moments, all of them celebratory. Here’s to another 40!
Project Team: Emily Oberman, partner-in-charge and lead designer; Jonathan Correira, designer; Laura Tomaselli, editor; Graham Holly, animator; Lucea Spinelli, project coordinator.
Last Thursday evening, Pentagram hosted an event for Do The Green Thing to mark its first five years of creativity versus climate change. Co-founded by Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani in 2007, Do The Green Thing is the charity that uses world-class creativity to inspire as many people as possible to live more sustainably.
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.
In “The Alphabet of Nations,” They Might Be Giants—the Brooklyn-based duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell—help kids learn geography and the alphabet in a catchy singalong that turns the ABC’s into a list of names of countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The band has recorded a special version of the song for the 10th anniversary deluxe reissue of their beloved first children’s album, “No!” (2002). To celebrate the rerelease, Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and team have collaborated with TMBG to create a new video for “The Alphabet of Nations” that features images crowdsourced from fans around the globe.
For the band and the designers, the project represented the opportunity to do something that was not only for fun, but also for good. The video was made in collaboration with and to benefit the Global Fund for Children, the international children’s charity organization. GFC invests in innovative grassroots groups around the world that serve children in need. To help raise money for the Global Fund, TMBG and Oberman have also created limited edition posters and t-shirts based on the video graphics. All profits go to support the Global Fund for Children. Get yours here!