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New Work: ‘No Problem: Cologne/New York 1984-1989’


In the 1980s, New York and Cologne were twin cities of the contemporary art world, a pair of visionary local art scenes who were engaged in an intercity cultural dialogue that helped produce many of the generation’s most influential artists and galleries. This remarkable era is explored in No Problem: Cologne/New York 1984-1989, a new publication from David Zwirner Books. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Laitsz Ho have created a design for the book that reflects the exuberant spirit of the period and its art.

The book follows the 2014 exhibition of the same name at David Zwirner, one of the first surveys to look at the connection between the two cities. In the 1980s, art being produced in and around Cologne started gaining international attention, and a growing gallery scene supported emerging work from the region and beyond. German artists such as Martin Kippenberger, Rosemarie Trockel and Albert Oehlen were exhibited along with the latest contemporary art from the U.S. by artists like Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince and Christopher Wool. At the same time, New York galleries such as Metro Pictures and Barbara Gladstone were showing the works of German artists. This cross-fertilization helped shape the vibrant art and visual culture of the period and decades since.

Awards: Society for Experiential Graphic Design 2015


The Society for Experiential Graphic Design recently announced the winners of the SEGD Global Design Awards, which are featured in the September issue of the organization’s eg Magazine.  A mutli-disciplinary jury led by SEGD principal Graham Hanson honored outstanding work that exemplified this year’s theme, “Experience,” through the integration of digital and traditional media in compelling designs.

We are pleased to announce that several Pentagram projects were awarded this year, which include event graphics, environmental graphics, exhibition design, and branding.

New Work: Teach for America Headquarters

It’s back-to-school throughout New York City’s public schools this week, marking the start of the 25th academic year for Teach for America, the non-profit organization that recruits teachers for underserved communities throughout the United States. The organization, which has grown significantly since its conception in 1989, recently moved its headquarters from Midtown to 25 Broadway in the Financial District, located across from the famous “Charging Bull” statue. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed a program of environmental graphics for the new space that reflects and reinforces Teach for America’s educational mission and collaborative spirit.

Founded by Wendy Kopp, Teach for America recruits recent college graduates to teach in schools throughout the country. In 25 years, the organization has grown from serving 6 regions to impacting 52 regions across the continental United States, with nearly 6,000 teachers, or corps members, and over 28,000 alumni. Teach for America’s culture is founded on five core values—transformational change, team, leadership, respect and humility, diversity—which guide the actions and decisions of the corps members and alumni. Bierut and his team worked closely with Teach for America to incorporate these core values into the environment of their New York City headquarters.

New Work: Verizon

Currently ranked #15 on the Fortune 500 list, Verizon is one of the largest communication technology companies in the world and the largest wireless provider in the United States. The company was born in 2000, the result of a merger between Bell Atlantic and GTE. The new company adopted as its name a portmanteau of veritas and horizon, and a logo that today appears everywhere from big rig trucks to handheld devices.

The complexity of the original Verizon logo—it incorporates a modified italic typeface, two colors, a stylized letter “z,” a v-shaped form that sometimes appears above the name and sometimes next to it, and gradations in multiple locations—has made it difficult to reliably reproduce in different media. This inconsistency has only increased over time.

More importantly, over the last fifteen years the way we communicate has changed dramatically, and so has Verizon. Last week, the company introduced a dramatically simplified new logo designed by Pentagram that reflects those changes, and positions the company for the future.

The new logo, designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team, retains the essence of the original logo’s DNA and realigns the mark with Verizon’s core values: simplicity, reliability, and dedication to its customers. The customized letterforms have been eliminated in favor of a straightforward treatment of the company name in Neue Haas Grotesk, fine tuned by Christian Schwartz of Commercial Type. The color red—long a salient feature of Verizon’s identity—serves as an accent, in a brighter, cleaner hue. Finally, the “v” symbol is now a checkmark, the universally understood symbol for getting things done. Placed at the end of the wordmark, the checkmark serves as a sign-off and endorsement to the Verizon name. Says Verizon’s chief marketing officer Diego Scotti, “It does what a great logo does best. It evokes both what we offer, and who we are.”

New Work: Food Truck Nation at Expo Milano 2015


Hand-crafted hamburgers made with organic grass-fed beef. Wood-oven pizza topped with handmade cheese and seasonal vegetables. Korean tacos stuffed with locally sourced ingredients. Some of the best and most sustainable American food is currently being served by the artisanal food trucks and street vendors that are sprouting up all over the U.S. The USA Pavilion at the food-themed Expo Milano 2015 pays tribute to this casual culinary revolution at “Food Truck Nation,” an installation of six food trucks that offers a rotating menu of regional favorites.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed graphics for “Food Truck Nation” that build on the identity they developed for the USA Pavilion, designed by Biber Architects. Appearing in patriotic red, white and blue, the system of 160 custom icons works in tandem with the flag symbol to create a playful take on American iconography. The circular symbols are inspired by highway and roadside signs, as well as icons used in farming and agriculture, and graphically complement the massive billboard-size flag logo that anchors the Pavilion.

New Work: ‘30 Years of Emerging Voices’


Every year since 1982, the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices program has identified up-and-coming architects, landscape architects and urban designers who promise to make a lasting impact on the field. Considered one of the most important honors in American architecture, the annual lecture series and award is celebrated for its foresight in recognizing individuals and firms destined for worldwide influence. These have included Brad Cloepfil, James Corner, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, SHoP and Jeanne Gang, among many others.

Emerging Voices’ remarkable legacy is commemorated in a new book, 30 Years of Emerging Voices: Idea, Form, Resonance, out now from Princeton Architectural Press. Designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Laitsz Ho, the book is a richly illustrated compendium of almost 250 of the most innovative North American architects of the past three decades.

The League is launching 30 Years of Emerging Voices with a pair of events this week. The book was the focus of a special Oculus Book Talk at the Center for Architecture. This Saturday, July 11, the League and Open House New York will present OpenStudios: Emerging Voices, an opportunity to visit more than forty New York-based Emerging Voices firms. Pentagram’s office will serve as the check-in point for participants before they go on a self-guided walking tour of the studios. Copies of 30 Years of Emerging Voices will be available for purchase. Details here.