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New Work: Saks Fifth Avenue ‘LOOK’ Campaign


One of fashion’s most gratifying thrills is finding new and unexpected pieces and putting them together to make a fresh look. The Fall 2013 campaign for Saks Fifth Avenue showcases the luxury retailer as the ultimate place for fashion discovery. Designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and team, the campaign uses the word “LOOK” as a bold, attention-getting graphic motif that invites shoppers to explore the store and its style. The campaign builds on our identity for Saks and was developed in collaboration with Terron Schaefer, Saks’ executive vice president and chief creative officer.

Natasha Jen to Design Identity and Environmental Graphics for US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale

Animated version of the identity for the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Design by Natasha Jen/Pentagram.

The U.S. Department of State has selected Storefront for Art and Architecture, in association with PRAXIS Journal, to represent the U.S. in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. As part of a collaborative team assembled by Storefront of Art and Architecture, Pentagram’s Natasha Jen will design the identity and environmental graphics for the U.S. Pavilion, which is titled OfficeUS: Criticism by Remaking, and will feature a working architecture office exploring 1,000 projects from 100 years of American design exports.

The 2014 Biennale carries the theme “Fundamentals” and has been commissioned by the architect Rem Koolhaas. The U.S. Pavilion is co-curated by Eva Franch i Gilabert, executive director and curator of Storefront for Art and Architecture; Ana Milijački, architecture professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Ashley Schafer, editor of PRAXIS. The three curators have re-imagined the exhibition as an active, experimental architectural office that will research, study and remake 1,000 projects designed by American architecture firms over the past century throughout the world. The installation will contain two interrelated components: 1) The Repository, an exhibition archive of the 1,000 selected projects; and 2) The Office, a working laboratory of diverse individuals with the mission to critically remake and reinterpret the material in the Repository throughout the five-month period of the Biennale.

Jen and her team at Pentagram will work on the project with other members of the OfficeUS team, including Architizer, CLOG, Michael Kubo, Chris Leong and Dominic Leong of Leong Leong, PRAXIS, Jacob Reidel, and Carlos Minguez Carrasco of Storefront for Art and Architecture. The Biennale is on view from June 7 through November 23, 2014.

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New Work: Platform

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Platform is a new non-profit organization with the important mission to increase the interest and participation of underrepresented groups in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on African-Americans, Latinos and women. African-Americans and Latinos make up nearly 30 percent of the total U.S. population, and women represent more than half, yet these groups remain greatly underrepresented in the thriving innovation economy. Through its website and series of conferences, Platform seeks to establish a “platform” for increased visibility and access to current leaders and role models to help influence and inspire the next generation of innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs.

Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and team have designed the identity and website for the organization, as well as the graphics for the first Platform Summit, recently held at the MIT Media Lab. Platform has been conceived as a movement, not just a conference—think TED—and the identity and website have been designed as flexible elements that will adapt and grow with the organization.

Souvenirs of Summer


This weekend is your last chance to enjoy New York City’s public beaches, which close for the season following Labor Day. Restored after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, the beaches reopened earlier this year with cheerful new signs designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher. The signs feature photographs of the beaches and capture the charm, romance, and beauty of the city’s favorite summer spots.

Now the signs have been turned into postcards. The limited edition set features six of the beaches that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Proceeds from the sale of the postcards will be donated to the City Parks Foundation, the citywide parks conservancy. Order yours here.

New Work: Darden Smith, ‘Love Calling’

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Partner DJ Stout and designer Stu Taylor in Pentagram’s Austin office have designed a new CD package, posters and a lyric book for Austin-based musician Darden Smith. The multi-talented singer-songwriter’s newest release on Compass Records, Love Calling, features a not-so-loving image of a woman strapped to a large wooden wheel with multiple swords protruding from her back. “Obviously this album features love songs,” says Stout, “but as everyone knows, there’s a very thin line between love and hate.”

Included with the collection of love ballads is a song called “Angel Flight” that Smith wrote in 2009 with his friend Radney Foster. The song, which became a radio and Internet sensation, honors the military pilots who fly the planes that bring fallen soldiers home. That song gave Smith the idea for his successful Songwriting with Soldiers program, established in 2012, where the master songwriter works with veterans suffering from PTSD and other injuries. “The album also features a song about jealous love called ‘I Smell Smoke,’ and ‘Baltimore’ is a dark tale about shattered love and salvation,” says Stout, “so the songs aren’t all lovey-dovey. ‘Angel Flight’ is about the heart-wrenching consequences of war, so the violent image of the angelic-looking woman with the traditional weapons of warfare stuck in her back seemed to me to be an appropriate symbol for this collection of songs.”

For local hero Smith, who’s been writing songs and performing for 40 years, Love Calling opens a new chapter in the artist’s prolific career and circles back to his musical roots. “And that’s where the symbolism of the big wooden wheel on the cover comes into play,” says Stout. “Darden is a hard worker and he’s had his fair share of high points and low, both in music and love.”

New Work: Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership 2013 Annual Report


The Flatiron Building is a beloved icon of New York, seen in countless images of the city. But what does the view look like from the building itself? For the 2013 Annual Report of the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, the area Business Improvement District, Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team sent photographer Luca Vignelli to the top of the Flatiron for an aerial shot of the District from a rare perspective.

Titled “View from 285 Feet,” the height of the Flatiron Building, the annual report unfolds to reveal the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street looking north toward Midtown, with the green of Madison Square Park to the east. (The District happens to be Pentagram’s own neighborhood, and our tiny “P” banner can be seen in the view up Fifth.)

Playing off the title, the report’s neighborhood statistics have been overlaid on the photograph to create a large infographic of the area. Among the data noted from the past year are the 30,279 square feet of public space maintained by the BID, 103 block faces in the District, 18,078 directions given by public safety officers, 337 CitiBike docking stations, 2,141 @flatironNY Twitter followers, and one water main break (on February 1). The graphics use the identity we designed for the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership in 2007.

08/26/2013 | Permalink

New Work: Sundance Institute

Animated version of the new Sundance Institute identity.

Founded by the actor and director Robert Redford in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, in 1981, Sundance Institute has grown into a global nonprofit cultural organization that advances the work of storytellers in a variety of disciplines. Best known for the Sundance Film Festival, one of the largest showcases for independent cinema in the world, the Institute is also a resource for thousands of independent film, theater and music artists through its year-round labs, programs and initiatives including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Theatre Program, Creative Producing Initiative, Film Music Program, #ArtistServices, and many more.

Pentagram’s Paula Scher has created a new identity for Sundance Institute and a flexible identity system that can be customized for the Institute’s many programs and initiatives. Bold, iconic and memorable, the identity is based around the simple form of a bright yellow circle, a play on the Institute’s name. Scher has also designed the graphic identity for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

New Work: 160m of Steel, Typography and Poetry

Kew Bridge is an area of great historic significance in London. In 1838, the Grand Junction Waterworks Company built an expansive facility in the area, pumping water from the Thames into households north of the river. By the mid-twentieth century, many of the steam engines used for pumping were retired and the site eventually became a trust, housing the oldest waterworks system in the world at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

New Work: Square Pie

Square Pie is Britain’s first gourmet pie company, having created 116 different types of pie and providing a truly British culinary experience. To coincide with this week’s launch of their new outlet in Stratford City Westfield, Square Pie asked Pentagram to refresh their identity to reflect their experience within the industry.

New Work: ‘A Country of Cities’

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In his new book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, the architect and urban planner Vishaan Chakrabarti argues that well-designed cities are the key to solving many of the country’s challenges, from the sluggish economy and imperiled environment to rising public health costs and growing social inequality. Chakrabarti suggests that, contrary to what many Americans believe, urban density is actually better for the health and happiness of the country, as well as of the planet, and the trend of fast-growing cities can be harnessed to create an “infrastructure of opportunity.” The highly readable book was recently selected as one of Designers & Books’ 10 Notable Books of 2013 (so far) and will be the subject of a special Oculus Book Talk with Chakrabarti tonight at the Center for Architecture.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Britt Cobb worked on the design of the book with SHoP Architects’ Omar Toro-Vaca and Ryan Lovett, and Metropolis Books publisher Diana Murphy, helping to establish a clear, cogent framework that showcases the author’s manifesto. Chakrabarti makes his case simultaneously in words and pictures: an intelligent, closely reasoned thesis, accompanied by a series of 100 diagrams and infographics that bring the thesis to life.