New Work: ‘William Kentridge: Five Themes’

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In his drawings, prints, sculptures, books, films, installations and performances, the contemporary South African artist William Kentridge creates layered, complex narratives that connect the personal and the political. Abbott Miller has designed William Kentridge: Five Themes, a book that accompanies a major survey of the artist that debuted at SFMOMA last year and opens this week at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Miller worked with Kentridge to develop different strategies to present this remarkably diverse body of work.

Felt & Wire Launches New Design

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Short of the paper cuts, the blog Felt & Wire captures the experience of all things paper: its endless varieties, uses and innovations, and the close personal associations we have with a material that is often right at our fingertips. The site was launched a year ago by our longtime client Mohawk Fine Papers to help foster a community of designers, artists, printers, papermakers, bookbinders and other craftspeople who are, as the site’s tagline puts it, “paper-obsessed.” The blog initially focused on paper-related topics like letterpress and written correspondence, but is now widening its focus to cover paper, print and design. To curate this expanded scope is newly appointed editor Tom Biederbeck, former editor in chief of STEP Inside Design and Dynamic Graphics magazines.

This week Felt & Wire launched an updated site design created by Michael Bierut and Katie Barcelona, who designed the original site last year. New features include a monthly Q&A column with Sean Adams, a forum for sustainability in design, and a monthly column called Studio Insider presenting the working spaces of leading artists and designers. The homepage now highlights reader comments and the site’s Twitter feed. One of the site’s most popular features is the Felt & Wire Shop, a curated marketplace introduced last fall that offers paper goods produced by designers and artists, including greeting cards, wrapping paper, books, posters and calendars. (Think Etsy for paper.) In addition to designing the site, Barcelona will be periodically contributing to the blog; her first column appears today.

And the name? Felt and wire are two materials used in the final stage of the papermaking process. Felt helps to absorb excess water and wire helps to structure the sheet as it forms. Representing the tactile and the technical, they’re also metaphors for the subjects that the site’s creators will continue to explore.

Awards: Type Directors Club 56

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The Type Directors Club Annual has always been one of our favorite competitions, because we are type geeks at heart, of course, and we love the big beautiful book that the TDC continues to publish every year to showcase the winning work.

We are happy to announce that several of our projects have been selected for inclusion in the 56th Type Directors Club Annual Exhibition. In the Corporate Identity category, Paula Scher’s work for the Museum of Modern Art was honored, as were Michael Bierut’s identities for Guitar Hero and The Oak Room. Michael’s cover for Nabokov’s Speak, Memory was cited in the Book Jacket category, and his signage for the Harley Davidson Museum won in Environmental Graphics. Harry Pearce’s posters for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (above) and DJ Stout’s poster for Pentagram Austin’s Signs fundraiser were selected for the Poster category. And Lisa Strausfeld’s WNET online annual report was honored in Websites.

Thanks to all our designers, teams and clients who contributed their fantastic energy and vision to these projects.

New Work: Neue Galerie

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One of the few museums devoted to early 20th century Austrian and German art and design, the Neue Galerie New York presents its collection in an exquisite setting. Opened in 2001, the museum is housed in a landmark Beaux-Arts mansion on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile that was built in 1914 and fully restored by the architect Annabelle Selldorf. The museum includes works by Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele, Kandinsky, Klee and Grosz, presented in an environment redolent of Vienna at the turn of the century. Abbott Miller has designed a website for the Neue Galerie that extends the museum’s unique atmosphere and beauty to its online presence.

New Work: North Carolina Museum of Art

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Often, museum graphics err on the side of anonymity, assuming that art needs a recessive frame to shine. Not so at the North Carolina Museum of Art, which will be dramatically transformed this year. An expansion building designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners opening in April will add 127,000 square feet of exhibition space to the museum’s original 1983 building by Edward Durell Stone. Adjacent to the these buildings is a 449-seat open-air amphitheater; the entire complex is set within a 164-acre park filled with sculpture and walking trails.

Pentagram was asked to create a new signage and wayfinding program as well as a new graphic identity that would reflect the boldness of the museum’s transformation.

Five Ways the iPad Will Change Magazine Design

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The new iPad from Apple, presented in typical Steve Jobs fashion as game-changing, will, in fact, revolutionize the way we read magazines. Combining the rich visual content of a print publication, the ever-changing immediacy of a website, and the portability of an e-book reader, the iPad is something new.

Pentagram’s Luke Hayman, designer of, among others, Time, New York, and Travel + Leisure, was asked how this new format would change the world of magazines and came up with five ways off the top of his head.