Pentagram Named ADC Design Firm of the Year

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Pentagram has been named Design Firm of the Year by the Art Directors Club, in recognition of winning the most awards of any design studio in the ADC 88th Annual Awards, announced at its gala last week.

We received a total of six awards in the competition. In addition to the ADC Design Sphere Cube awarded to Paula Scher’s ongoing work for The Public Theater, our winners included the Museum of Arts and Design identity designed by Michael Bierut, which won a Gold Cube; the 365: AIGA Year in Design 29 annual designed by Paula Scher, which won a Bronze; Angus Hyland’s design for A, the AzkoNobel magazine, another Bronze winner; and Abbott Miller’s 2wice False Start issue and Brno Echo: Ornament and Crime from Adolf Loos to Now exhibition, both of which won Merit Awards.

Update: The ADC has posted photos of last week’s 88th Annual Awards Gala.

New Work: ‘Life List’


The book trailer for Life List, Olivia Gentile’s new biography of bird enthusiast Phoebe Snetsinger.

What is life? That, ultimately, is the question posed by Life List, journalist Olivia Gentile’s new biography of Phoebe Snetsinger. If the name means nothing to you, you’re not a bird enthusiast: Snetsinger holds the record for birds seen over a lifetime, over 8,500 of the world’s 10,000 species. She began her quest in earnest after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 49. Confounding her doctors, she lived for nearly twenty more years before dying in an accident in Madagascar—on a birding expedition, of course.

Pentagram’s website for Life List begins with a book trailer which features the names all 117 of the bird species that Gentile mentions in the book, in order, in less than 45 seconds, starting with the Blackburnian Warbler that got Snetsinger hooked on birding in the first place. (Had we listed all of the birds Phoebe saw in her lifetime at the same pace, it would take 45 minutes.)

Trying to spot the names as they fleetingly appear and disappear has become a typographic version of birdwatching, with some enthusiasts racking up impressive tallies even on initial viewing. To make the game a bit easier, illustrations from the book by Austin, Texas-based artist Rebecca Layton are interspersed with the Bodoni Book.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge; Katie Barcelona and Daniel Becker, designers. Developer: Michael Barbano.

A Horse of a Different Color

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The city of Lexington in the center of the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky is the self-proclaimed Horse Capital of the World. So it is only natural that in 2010 Lexington will become the first American city to host the World Equestrian Games. Thousands of new visitors will be coming to Lexington to attend the games and the city is taking this opportunity to put its best hoof forward. As a part of this effort the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau asked Pentagram to develop a visual identity that reflects Lexington’s one-of-a-kind personality.

New Work: Murals for The Library Initiative

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Nearly nine years ago, Pentagram was asked to contribute to a visionary effort by the wonderful (and design-conscious) Robin Hood Foundation: an initiative to build new school libraries in elementary schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. A range of talented architects would design the libraries; private companies would donate books and funds; and we would provide the graphic design, including signage, wayfinding, and a masterbrand that would tie all the sites together.

Along the way, we discovered something interesting. The libraries are usually located in older buildings with high ceilings, but the shelves in the libraries can’t be built higher than kids can reach. This means there is a space between the top shelf and the ceiling, an up-to-six-foot band around the room just begging for something special. That something turned out to be murals. And the results can now be seen in schools all over New York City, including five brand new ones in the Bronx which feature murals by Rafael Esquer, Maira Kalman, Christoph Niemann, Stefan Sagmeister and Yuko Shimizu, and Charles Wilkin.

New Work: Strathmore Paper

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Asked to refresh the Strathmore Paper brand presentation for our longtime client Mohawk Fine Papers, Pentagram asked the designer Marian Bantjes to reinterpret the famous Strathmore thistle. This mark was then used to create a pattern for new packaging of Strathmore Paper reams. The goal was to project a stronger signature presence for the brand in business-to-business and direct-to-consumer retail settings.

Read more about the project on Marian’s site and on Felt & Wire, the new Strathmore Paper blog about paper and its creative uses that we designed and helped name.

New Work: The Oak Room

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The end of last year saw the return of an undisputed New York classic: the Oak Room and Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel. Pentagram worked with the owner and design team to create the graphics for this landmark destination.

New Work: President Lincoln’s Cottage

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In honor of President Lincoln’s 200th birthday (not to mention the recent discovery that he was perhaps an early adapter of emoticons), we bring you a new identity designed by Pentagram. President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home is a historic Gothic Revival house on a hilltop on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. to which Lincoln and his family often repaired during the wartime years of his presidency. Recently having undergone a seven-year $15 million restoration by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the house opened to the public last year for the first time in its history. The new identity employs an eloquent example of penmanship adapted from Lincoln’s own signature — the 16th President spent much time writing at the Cottage, and drafted the Emancipation Proclamation during his first summer living there — which provides a personal focus to the site’s somewhat complicated name.

Michael Bierut and his team, who worked on this project, also designed the identity for the National Trust as well as the Philip Johnson Glass House. Like the Cottage, the Glass House is also a National Trust site.

Applications of the identity after the jump.