New Work: One Laptop per Child

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Since it began issuing laptops in 2007, One Laptop per Child, the initiative to put low-cost computers in the hands of the world’s poorest children, has provided its XO laptops to an astonishing 2 million students and teachers in countries and regions all over the world. The program, founded by Nicholas Negroponte, has fostered a growing community of educators, developers and supporters, and has helped change the lives of children in Afghanistan, Paraguay, Madagascar, Kenya, India, Argentina, Nepal, Gaza and the West Bank, among others.

Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld and her team have designed a new site for OLPC that helps focus on this new phase of the project: the use of the laptops and how they are helping to empower children. Previous versions of the OLPC site emphasized the organization’s mission and laptop technology. Now that the laptops are in use, the new site details the accomplishments of the program, helps create a sense of community and encourages continued support. The site has an editorial focus and acts as a kind of OLPC “mother ship,” or hub, that serves to aggregate news and information about OLPC and surface the communities that have grown up around the program. The homepage shares stories and photos of children and classrooms that use the laptops. News updates are color-coded by source, and the site features an interactive map of the world that shows the countries and regions that have signed on to the initiative, with links to local updates via the OLPC Wiki. The site uses the language of simple graphic icons that Pentagram’s Michael Gericke developed for the organization’s identity. The new site was developed by Upstatement.

Pentagram has been involved with OLPC since the organization’s inception. This is the third time we’ve designed the OLPC site, following the initial launch in 2007 and an update in 2008. Michael Gericke designed the OLPC identity, and Lisa Strausfeld designed Sugar, the XO laptop’s graphical user interface.

New Work: Builder

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Builder magazine has undergone an extensive redesign by Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and his team. Published by Hanley Wood, the number one media company covering construction, the title is the industry leader. The redesign took place as part of a holistic company initiative, following a thorough period of self-evaluation as Hanley Wood looked both internally and at the trade as a whole, for realignment and innovation.

Innovation became a major thrust for the project as the construction industry and associated businesses are rapidly evolving and adapting to new technology. As more of Builder’s content migrated online, the existing print structure was poised for change.

Pentagram Launches New Website

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Every designer or design firm faces the challenge of how best to show their portfolio online. Which projects make the cut? How many images? What do potential clients want to see? For our new site, launched last week, we’ve taken the maximal approach, creating an image-driven, easily navigable collection of hundreds of our projects that will continue to grow as we finish new work. The site allows users to view multiple projects at once and take a closer look at portfolios of each project.

New Work: ‘Michelangelo Pistoletto’

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Michelangelo Pistoletto is one of Italy’s most influential contemporary artists, a co-founder of the Arte Povera movement whose works link Pop, Conceptual Art, Minimalism and Post-Minimalism. Michelangelo Pistoletto: From One to Many, 1956-1974 is a major retrospective of the artist’s work now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller designed the exhibition catalogue, which collects over 100 of Pistoletto’s works in painting, sculpture and performance art, and texts by the artist about his work. The exhibition was organized with MAXXI—Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo in Rome, where it opens in March.

Pistoletto’s art often functions as a collaboration with the spectator, and he is perhaps best known for his Quadri specchianti (Mirror Paintings), Photo Realist images on mirror-finished steel that make the viewer part of the works. For the catalogue, Miller has covered the book in silver foil that catches the reader’s reflection. (The paper is Strike! Foil with a matte laminate.) Opening spreads of the book’s essays also make use of silver pages. Kievit is the font family used throughout the book.

A look inside the book after the jump.

New Work: Parking at 13-17 East 54th St.

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As holiday shoppers exit stores across the nation, heading out into vast lots and garages, the most important thing on their minds is not what baubles they’ve bought their loved ones but rather, “Where the @#$%&! did we park the car?” Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed graphics for a Midtown Manhattan garage that make sure drivers never forget where the car is.

Imagining Emotional Spell-Check

Have you ever sent an email in the heat of the moment that you later regretted? Have you ever received such an email? (We have.) Imagine software that would auto-correct your messages to eliminate harsh words, smooth over rough language, and magically turn stormy to temperate.

The 10th Annual Year in Ideas issue of the New York Times Magazine reports on an email plug-in by Canadian startup Lymbix that does just that. To illustrate the concept, the Times commissioned Pentagram to create a short animated film for the magazine’s online edition. Michael Bierut and Christina Nizar imagined a personal avatar capable of turning any nasty email into something perfectly (more or less) innocuous.

To see the other ideas, including animations by Buck, Grandchildren, and Studio AKA, visit the Year in Ideas site. The print edition will be published on December 17th.

New Work: Big Ten Conference

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The Big Ten Conference is the U.S.’ oldest and largest Division I college athletic association. Founded in 1896, the conference is comprised of schools located mainly in the Midwest and includes world-class academic institutions such as Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern, and University of Wisconsin–Madison. Big Ten schools compete at the highest level of NCAA competition in basketball and football, and over the past decade the Big Ten has led all conferences with national titles in different sports including volleyball, track and field, cross country, wrestling, hockey, soccer, tennis and golf. Despite its name, the conference has included 11 member schools since Penn State joined in 1990, and it will add University of Nebraska – Lincoln as its 12th member in July 2011.

Pentagram’s Michael Gericke (a graduate of the University of Wisconsin) and Michael Bierut (husband of 30 years to an Ohio State alumna) have designed the new logo for the conference, announced today. The conference’s previous logo hid an “11” in the negative space around the “T” in “Ten.” The new logo evolved from this use of negative space and is built on the conference’s iconic name without reference to the number of member institutions. “Seeing two numbers at once is clever, but it means redesigning the logo every time the conference expands,” says Bierut. “It was time for something direct and simple.” The resulting logo features contemporary collegiate lettering with an embedded numeral “10” in the word “BIG,” which allows fans to see “BIG” and “10” in a single word.

“The new logo was developed to symbolize the conference’s future, as well as its heritage and tradition of competition,” says Gericke. “Going forward, fans will know The Big Ten will always be the Big Ten.”

“The new Big Ten logo provides a contemporary identifying mark unifying twelve outstanding institutions,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “It conveys some elements from the past while simultaneously introducing new features. We think the new logo is fun and has something for everyone.”