New Work: Lucy’s Fried Chicken

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Pentagram’s DJ Stout and his team in Austin do chicken right. They rebranded Popeye’s in 2008, changing the name from Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits to Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. The new identity they created for the national chain, known for its spicy New Orleans style chicken and red beans and rice, was included in the Graphic Design: Now in Production exhibition that opened at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis last fall. Then in 2009 they created a new identity for Chicken Now, a fast food chain that sells chicken strips and chicken fingers primarily in malls.

Now Stout and designer Barrett Fry have created the logo, identity, menus, T-shirts, website and even a neon sign for a new self-proclaimed “Rock and Roll Fried Chicken joint” in Austin called Lucy’s Fried Chicken. The new restaurant/bar, located at the far end of ultra-hip South Congress Avenue, is owned by James and Cristina Holmes, who named the place after James’s grandmother who taught him how to cook fried chicken. They also have a daughter named Lucy and own another, more upscale restaurant in Austin, Olivia, named after their other young daughter. James started cooking fried chicken for his Sunday brunch at Olivia and it was a big hit with his customers. Then he started selling it from a food trailer during the Austin City Limits Festival, which generated long lines across Zilker Park, where the festival is held annually. He realized that he had something special and that fried chicken, which had fallen out of favor over the years, was making a big comeback.

Awards: Print’s Regional Design Annual 2011

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Pentagram is honored to have several of our projects featured in Print’s 31st Regional Design Annual, on newsstands now. Work from our New York and Austin offices has been recognized in the awards, which is the only comprehensive U.S. design competition organized by geography.

Eight projects from our New York office placed in the annual’s New York City section: Team Michael Bierut’s mark for the Fashion Law Institute; Michael Gericke and Luke Hayman’s graphics program for the US bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022 ; Luke Hayman’s “HELLO” invite for an event welcoming Eddie Opara to Pentagram; Abbott Miller’s design for Mah Jongg: Krak Bam Dot, the book accompanying the “Project Mah Jongg” exhibition; Paula Scher’s Shakespeare in the Park 2010 campaign, map murals for Queens Metropolitan Campus, and environmental graphics for parking garage at 13-17 East 54th Street; and the website for Ennead Architects, designed by Lisa Strausfeld while she was at Pentagram. We are also happy to note current Pentagram New York intern Aron Fay is honored for his design of the catalog for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 2010 Next Wave Festival.

In the Southwest section, DJ Stout and his team at Pentagram Austin are represented by three projects: the “Building Hope” movie poster and book designs for The Gernsheim Collection and Uchi: The Cookbook.

Thanks to all our designers, teams and clients for the great work!

New Work: University of Southern California

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The University of Southern California (USC) was founded in Los Angeles in 1880, making it California’s oldest private research university. In 1994 Saul Bass, the venerated L.A.-based graphic designer, designed an identity that served as the institution’s primary graphic representation until last spring when Pentagram was tapped to develop a whole new identity for the university. The new identity, designed by Partner DJ Stout and Associate Julie Savasky in Pentagram’s Austin office, was officially announced this month. The new identity system gives USC a consistent but flexible graphics program that rectifies many of the inconsistencies and problems that evolved since the Bass identity was launched seventeen years ago.

“When Saul Bass designed his identity system for USC the world was a very different place,” says Stout. “In 1994 USC was a smaller and less complex organism, computers had just arrived on the scene, and there was no such thing as a smartphone. Saul Bass didn’t have to worry about how his USC logo would look on an iPhone.”

New Work: ‘From Uncertain to Blue’

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Pentagram’s DJ Stout has designed hundreds of books over the years, especially photography books, but in 1987 he designed his very first photography monograph, called From Uncertain to Blue. The book was also the first by the photographer, the now-famous Keith Carter, and has become a classic and a collector’s item over time. Now, nearly a quarter century later, Stout, with designer Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office, has redesigned and completely re-imagined the book for a reissue by the University of Texas Press this fall.

Pentagram Projects Featured in ‘Graphic Design: Now in Production’

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Pentagram is thrilled to have several of our works featured in the major exhibition Graphic Design: Now in Production, currently on view at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Organized by Andrew Blauvelt of the Walker and Ellen Lupton of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (where the show travels next summer), Graphic Design: Now in Production looks at the growing reach of graphic design over the past decade—“expanding from a specialized profession to a widely deployed tool,” in the words of the curators—and the changing role of the designer to producer, author and entrepreneur. The show is the first major U.S. exhibition to focus on graphic design in 15 years, following Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture at the Cooper-Hewitt in 1996 and the Walker’s landmark exhibition Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History in 1989.

New Work: Texas Book Festival 2011

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Partner DJ Stout and designer Stu Taylor in Pentagram’s Austin office have designed a multi-faceted promotional campaign for this year’s Texas Book Festival. The 16th edition of the annual event, which will be held this weekend at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, celebrates the newest books, by some of the best and brightest authors in the world, and raises money for Texas libraries. Founded by Laura Bush in 1995 the festival has featured literary luminaries like Frank McCourt, Robert Caro, Barak Obama and R.L. Stine. This year the festival features over 200 authors including Jim Lehrer, Molly Shannon, Chuck Palahniuk and Susan Orlean.

Pentagram Austin designed all the marketing and collateral materials for the Texas Book Festival back in 2001, which featured the work of fine art photographer Kate Breakey. For this year’s edition of the literary festival, Taylor and Stout designed a consistent, branded campaign consisting of a variety of posters, advertising, multi-page newspaper inserts, banners, email, t-shirts and bookmarks featuring the work of illustrator extraordinaire Marc Burckhardt.

Looks Good, Tastes Great

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Can good design rescue fast food? That’s one of the questions posed in The New York Times Magazine’s fourth annual Food & Drink issue, out this week. This year’s issue is themed “Everything You Wanted to Know About Food (But Didn’t Know Whom To Ask).” Times business reporter David Segal asked Pentagram Austin’s DJ Stout about his recent rebranding of Popeyes and how graphic design can change the perception of fast food.

From the Times:

In late 2008, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits changed its name to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. One by one, its more than 2,000 franchises worldwide are ditching their bright blue-and-yellow color scheme in favor of richer shades of red and orange. The new takeout box features those hues and a new, more refined logo, which includes the fleur-de-lis, which is ubiquitous in New Orleans.
The company has said the changes were made to emphasize the brand’s Louisiana heritage and to appeal to younger diners, but the makeover also had the effect of making the food somehow seem more healthful. Was that a goal? “Yes,” says DJ Stout, who oversaw the rebranding for the design firm Pentagram. “At the beginning of any redesign, you have lots of conversations with the owners, and a big part of the packaging assignment was to make the food look healthier.”
Pentagram has performed this trick for more than a few chains, including Ruby Tuesday, Chicken Now and Bobby’s Burger Palace. In each case, the design consultancy favored uncluttered surfaces, strong colors and bold lettering. The results leave diners with the sense that there’s something intelligent about the packaging, and by extension, the restaurant and its food.
Greg Vojnovic, Popeye’s vice president of development, says, “We wanted to convey freshness, authenticity, real food, fresh food.” And it seems to have worked. Since 2008, Popeyes says, the company’s share of the fast-food chicken market has risen by three percentage points, to 18 percent.