Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout, designer Stu Taylor and developer Hunter Cross have redesigned the alumni magazine of Vanderbilt University and its website. The completely revamped publication and its online counterpart launched earlier this month.
Vanderbilt is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and railroad magnate “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt, who gave the school its initial $1 million endowment even though he’d never been to the South. The Commodore hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War. Vanderbilt now enrolls approximately 12,000 students from all 50 states and over 90 foreign countries in four undergraduate and six graduate and professional schools.
“The first time I stepped foot on the Vanderbilt campus was in 1988,” says Stout. “I was in Nashville for a Texas Monthly press check and I heard loud music wafting toward my hotel from the direction of the university. When I walked over to the campus I was surprised to find the Red Hot Chili Peppers dancing and screaming and running around the quad half naked. It wasn’t at all what I expected to find in the Country Music Capital of the World. At that moment I never imagined I’d design a magazine for that same university 25 years later.”
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In her map paintings, Pentagram’s Paula Scher creates large-scale, obsessively detailed, typographically opinionated charts of cities, countries and regions around the world. Now you can take the maps with you in a new series of Mini Journals from Princeton Architectural Press. Pocket sized and perfect for use as diaries or sketchbooks, the journals come in a pack of three and feature covers with Scher’s New York, London and Paris maps. Inside, the pages are gridded (New York), lined (London), and blank (Paris), and the back cover of each notebook doubles as a pocket.
The Mini Journals were designed by Luke Hayman and are the first in a new series of products developed by Pentagram in collaboration with PAP. The books are available to order from Amazon.
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This spring the Deutsche Kinemathek — Museum für Film and Fernsehen in Berlin presents Martin Scorsese, the first major exhibition about the visionary American director of films including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Departed, Hugo, among many others. The exhibition was principally compiled from Scorsese’s private collection in New York, as well as the collections of his frequent collaborators Robert De Niro and Paul Schrader, housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Pentagram partner Justus Oehler and designer David Steingrüber in the Berlin office have designed the identity and communications campaign for the exhibition. The core element is a graphic device that transforms Scorsese’s name into a prism-like sculptural image, created by layering the typography and making it transparent, and by integrating a portrait of the director. The campaign complements the graphic identity and previous campaigns Oehler has created for the museum.
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Smelly cheese, croissants, and the Eiffel Tower for the French version; salami, Vespas and leaning towers for the Italian. Angus Hyland and his team turned to cultural cliches for the covers of Penguin’s republished 1968 edition Phrasebooks.
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“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.” So writes Vladimir Nabokov in Lolita, his classic tale of obsessive, all-consuming, and—let’s just say it—extremely inappropriate and highly illegal love. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut is one of 60 designers invited to create conceptual covers for the book for an upcoming collection, Lolita: Story of a Cover Girl. Edited by John Bertram and Yuri Leving, the book looks at the many graphic representations for Lolita since its publication in 1955, and was inspired by Dieter E. Zimmer’s exhaustive online archive of Lolita covers, as well as a 2009 cover contest held by Bertram’s blog, Venus Febriculosa.
Bierut’s cover cuts the book’s title from a copy of the Mann Act, or White Slave Traffic Act, the 1910 law prohibiting the interstate transportation of women and girls for “immoral purposes.” The law is mentioned in the book when Humbert Humbert takes 13-year-old Lolita on a multi-state road trip. Bierut hand-lettered and cut the cover himself, the jaunty lettering emerging from the darker implications of Nabokov’s story.
Pentagram’s Paula Scher has also contributed a Lolita design for the book, to be revealed in the coming months, and several of the other designer submissions can be seen in a recent feature on Print’s Imprint blog. Lolita: Story of a Cover Girl will be published this August by Print Books.
Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Aron Fay, designer; Julia Lindpaintner, researcher.
Since 2010, Pentagram partner Natasha Jen has been working with fashion designer Tess Giberson to create a seasonal thematic image that’s part of an ongoing branding program.
In Giberson’s fall/winter 2013 collection, “Evolution,” garments follow a gradual development from simple to more complex forms. At the collection’s core is a quilt handmade by Giberson’s mother in the early ‘70s. “Evolution” refers not only to form but also to Giberson’s personal evolution as a designer.
For the collection’s presentation at New York Fashion Week, Jen worked collaboratively with Giberson to create a unique invite in the form of an unfolding poster. The poster reveals pieces of the original quilt visible through cut-outs in one of Giberson’s current drawings. The letters of the collection name interact with these elements, moving forward and receding in their own evolution.
Jen’s invite has been receiving accolades in the fashion world, featured on blogs such as The Fashion Informer and Refinery 29.
The invite is the latest in the ongoing series Jen has created for Giberson. Each invite/poster features title typography interacting with an image or texture inspired by the season’s collection.
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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.
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Pentagram’s Natasha Jen has designed a new identity for Milly, the fashion label of the designer Michelle Smith. Milly’s collections are both classic and contemporary, and have earned a devoted following that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé, and Thandie Newton.
The new identity embodies Smith’s unique design sensibility, which juxtaposes modernity—clean, elegant silhouettes and impeccable details—with feminine flair: vibrant prints, bold colors, and luxurious fabrics and textures. Recently announced in WWD, the new identity will launch in full with Milly’s pre-fall collection this June.
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When Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout and his girlfriend Lana McGilvray decided to get married last summer she asked him for a logo and a website design instead of the traditional wedding ring. The marriage ceremony at the Mean Eyed Cat, a former chainsaw repair shop turned into a Johnny Cash tribute bar, was a bit untraditional to begin with, but this request really took the cake (there wasn’t a cake either, by the way). McGilvray had recently joined a public relations firm called Blast as a partner and needed a new identity and website. Stout enlisted the help of his colleagues Stu Taylor, who was the lead designer on the wedding project, and Hunter Cross, who developed and programmed the website.
“I think that put a lot of pressure on my guys,” says Stout. “The state of my marital bliss was riding firmly on their shoulders.”
On the flight back from their honeymoon in Paris, Stout scribbled the idea for the new logo on the back of a barf bag, and that was all it took. Lana loved it, but the website took a bit longer.
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Unveiled for the first time for public viewing is Daniel Weil’s E20 Story Chronoscope, which has been installed in front of More London, by Tower Bridge. The installation will remain in this location until the end of February. Weil created the Chronoscope to celebrate the planners vision for the lower Lea Valley area that hosted the London 2012 Olympic games, and will culminate in the development of neighbourhoods that will weave this previously isolated and empty area into the fabric of the city.
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