Celebrating our 40th birthday has put us in a retrospective mood. Over the coming year New at Pentagram will periodically take a look back at classic, timely or rarely seen projects from the Pentagram archive that are some of our favorites.
First up is something just in time for Father’s Day. One of Michael Bierut’s first projects after joining Pentagram in 1990 was for an old friend, Terron Schaefer, who was then marketing director of Brookstone. Schaefer had a last-minute assignment: an arresting promotion for Father’s Day to encourage shoppers to buy the kind of out-of-the-ordinary gifts that are a Brookstone specialty. The designer responded with a simple sketch based on international transportation icons, which Brookstone accepted immediately and expanded to packaging, wrapping paper, in-store signage, and advertising. Years later, Schaefer and Bierut went on to work together at Saks Fifth Avenue, where today Schaefer is Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer.
Happy Father’s Day!
Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Dorit Lev, illustrator.
The Penguin Press asked Pentagram to create a trailer to promote a landmark: the publication of the entire Thomas Pynchon backlist—from V. (1963) to Inherent Vice (2009)—on e-book for the first time. The video begins with a typographic treatment one of the most legendary opening lines in 20th century American literature, “A screaming comes across the sky,” from what is arguably Pynchon’s masterpiece, his 1973 National Book Award-winning Gravity’s Rainbow. Then follows the opening lines of his other seven books, ending with elegantly animated glimpses of the covers.
Partner Michael Bierut, a longtime Pynchon fan, worked with animator and musician Teddy Blanks of CHIPS to create a 64-second tribute to a body of work that has enthralled readers for years, and which will now reach millions more in the digital realm. The author himself, however, is unlikely to be among that number. According to the publisher, “He likes to read in print.”
Project team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and design director; Teddy Blanks, Chips NY, motion designer and musician
The landmark Apollo Theater in Harlem is an American musical and cultural icon, the place “where stars are born and legends are made” that helped launch the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Smokey Robinson, among countless others. On Monday, June 4, the Apollo will host one of the biggest superstars in music today: the resurgent Lionel Richie, currently back at the top of the charts. Richie will be honored alongside the late Etta James at the Apollo Spring Gala, which will induct the two artists into the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame.
Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Joe Marianek have been working with the Apollo on its brand identity and messaging and created the campaign for the Spring Gala. Richie inspired the Gala graphics, which weave lines from his signature hits “Say You, Say Me” and “All Night Long” into the language for the event: “Say You, Say Me, Say Apollo, Say Lionel, All Night Long.”
Continue reading “New Work: Apollo Theater Spring Gala”
Like Pentagram, the AIGA New York Chapter is celebrating a milestone birthday this year. Founded in 1982, the chapter has been supporting New York’s design community for the past 30 years, and in honor of the anniversary, 30 designers were asked to create commemorative posters for the organization. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, Emily Oberman and Paula Scher joined 27 other designers in creating limited edition posters to benefit the chapter. The posters are available for purchase on Etsy, including copies signed by the designers.
Continue reading “Happy 30th Anniversary, AIGA/NY!”
Quick Link: Designers & Books Interviews Michael Bierut
A family business founded in 1931, Mohawk is North America’s largest privately owned manufacturer of fine papers and envelopes. The paper business has changed enormously in recent years, with revolutions in digital technology transforming the ways people use paper. To meet this challenge, Mohawk is leveraging connections in the digital, design and photo spaces to develop new web-based offerings. This week the company launches a dynamic new identity system designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team that helps reinvent Mohawk for the digital world.
The new mark is based on the letter M. The logo serves as a monogram for the name Mohawk, but is also inspired by the papermaking process and the printmaking process, both of which involve paper moving around cylinders. The forms of the logo suggest paper rolls, printing presses and circuit boards, as well as the idea of connection and communication, the core functions of paper. “Whether it’s for a small book of family photos or a brochure for a giant corporation, it’s all about communication,” says Bierut. Applied to advertising, swatchbooks, brochures and ream wraps, the logo is a building block in a flexible branding system that includes more than a dozen color variations and countless patterns based on the mark.
The identity is the third Pentagram has created for Mohawk in the past 20 years, following logos designed in 1991 and 2002. Bierut and designers Katie Barcelona, Joe Marianek and Aron Fay worked closely with longtime client Laura Shore, Senior VP of Communications at Mohawk, to develop the identity, visual system, and campaign tagline, “What Will You Make Today?” The identity is accompanied by the launch of a new website, MohawkConnects.com.
Continue reading “New Work: Mohawk”
Quick Link: Michael Bierut on Rebranding Mohawk
Quick Link: Michael Bierut to Speak at SVA D-Crit Conference
Quick Link: Brand New Reviews New Mohawk Identity
Quick Link: Michael Bierut in Conversation with Architect Francis Kéré