From the Archive: ’Everything You Need to Know‘


Opening titles and bumper for the 1993 Comedy Central series ‘Everything You Need to Know,’ hosted by Christopher Hitchens.

Pentagram was saddened to learn of the passing of Christopher Hitchens, one of our favorite writers, essayists and acerbic wits. In one of our first (and little seen) ventures in television graphics, Pentagram, in collaboration with Curious Pictures and producer Billy Kimbell, designed the opening titles for the Comedy Central TV show “Everything You Need to Know”, an overview of world events with an unlikely host in the untelegenic, chain-smoking Mr. Hitchens. Planned as a weekly series, a pilot for the show ran only once in August 1993. Although it was never picked up, it can be considered a precursor to “The Daily Show,” which debuted on the same network three years later.

The titles were meant to reflect the show’s reduction of a vast amount of ridiculous material to an absurd core. The word “earwax” spells onto the screen against a black background, followed more rapidly by a long series of words beginning with the letter “E” and ending with the word “everything.” The process repeats with a series of foreign words ending in “you,” a series of homonyms (knead, knee, neat) ending in “need,” a series of numbers ending in “2”, and a series of pictograms ending in “know.” When the sequence is completed, which takes less than a minute, the show’s full title has been established.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer. Production: Curious Pictures.

New Work: National Academy

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Established in 1825, the National Academy Museum and School has a mission to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” Founded by a group of artists that included Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and Samuel F.B. Morse, it is the only institution of its kind to integrate a museum, art school and honorary association. It is modeled after the Royal Academy in London and is guided by a membership of esteemed artists and architects elected by peers. Members have included Jacob Lawrence, Frederic Edwin Church, Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Louise Bourgeois, Philip Johnson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Frank Gehry, Robert A.M. Stern and Maya Lin, among many others.

The National Academy is housed in a 1901 Beaux Arts mansion on Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, sited between the Guggenheim and the Cooper-Hewitt on New York’s Museum Mile. This fall the Academy completed an ambitious $3.5 million renovation designed to raise its profile and create a better visitor experience. Timed to the renovation, Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has refreshed the Academy’s identity and developed a new program of environmental graphics for the institution, including a striking typographic installation of members’ names on the ceiling of the museum’s foyer.

Eddie Opara Named to Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 List

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Pentagram is thrilled to announce our partner Eddie Opara has been named to Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, the annual list that celebrates “innovators, movers and shakers…who are shaping the world in new and different ways.” The list, published in Ebony’s December 2011/January 2012 issue (print only), recognizes influential leaders in politics, sports, entertainment and the arts. Eddie is honored alongside President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Lil Wayne, Viola Davis, Cory Booker, Kanye West and Marcus Samuelsson, among many others.

Congratulations Eddie!

Awards: AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers

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The AIGA’s annual “50 Books/50 Covers” competition showcases the best-designed books of the year, Kindles be damned. Pentagram is pleased to announce three of our books made the cut in the “50 Books” half of this year’s competition: Water Matters: A Design Manual for Water Conservation in Buildings, designed by Eddie Opara and team for the New York City Department of Design and Construction; Team Michael Bierut’s Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes; and Mah Jongg: Krak Bam Dot!, designed by Abbott Miller to accompany the exhibition “Project Mah Jongg at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

The winning selections can be seen online in the AIGA Design Archives, and at an exhibition that opens today at the AIGA National Design Center in New York. (Check out the accompanying survey, What the Book.) The winning books will join the AIGA archives at the Denver Art Museum and Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Collection at the Butler Library.

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

New Work: ‘Cosmopolitan’

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Cosmopolitan is the most popular women’s magazine in the world, a publishing powerhouse with 63 international editions, printed in 32 languages and distributed in more than 100 countries. With a circulation of over 3 million in the U.S. alone, the magazine is one of Hearst’s most valuable properties and longest-running titles; it was first introduced in 1886 as a family magazine before transitioning in the 1970s under legendary editrix Helen Gurley Brown to become the sexy women’s “Cosmo” of today. Currently led by editor in chief Kate White, the magazine enjoys its status as a pop-cultural mainstay and trusted go-to source for information on topics like sex, relationships, fashion, health and beauty.

Now, working closely with White and Cosmo design director Ann Kwong, Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and his team have redesigned Cosmopolitan to create a bold new version of the iconic magazine. The refresh launches with Cosmo’s January 2012 issue, on newsstands today.

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!

Putting NYC Design on the Map

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From one design capital to another: This month the Amsterdam-based interior design magazine Eigen Huis & Interieur published a special “New York Design Guide” issue that highlights landmarks of the New York City design scene. Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and his team recently redesigned EH&I and established the masthead’s ampersand as an icon of the brand. Each month a different designer is invited to interpret the ampersand for the opening of the “Interieur” section, and for the New York issue, Hayman created an ampersand inspired by Massimo Vignelli’s classic 1972 map of the New York City subway system. In the new version, the lines of the ampersand playfully connect contemporary and historic New York designers, agencies and institutions, from Milton Glaser, George Lois, Ruth Ansel and the Museum of Modern Art to Karlssonwilker, Local Projects, Dror and Pentagram (of course). Download a PDF of the map here.

Inside the issue, Hayman and Pentagram designer Shigeto Akiyama each contribute a list of New York’s “must-sees,” and Hayman is interviewed in the magazine’s Het Katern section. Paula Scher’s New York loft is one of the featured interiors.

Project Team: Luke Hayman, partner-in-charge and designer; Shigeto Akiyama and Felix Koutchinski, designers.