Obama Wins

Michael Bierut comments on the campaign logos of the 2008 presidential candidates in “May the Best Logo Win,” a piece by Karrie Jacobs in Salon. “Obama is marketing like Apple, Nike or Starbucks. He’s selling an experience. It’s all done with such skill and finesse that as a professional, I am in absolute awe,” says Bierut.

Lisa Strausfeld in MoMA’s ‘Design and the Elastic Mind’


The Museum of Modern Art’s landmark new exhibition, “Design and the Elastic Mind,” opens this weekend. Curated by Paola Antonelli, the exhibition “highlights current examples of successful design translations of disruptive scientific and technological innovations, and reflects on how the figure of the designer has changed from form giver to fundamental interpreter of an extraordinary dynamic reality.” Two of Lisa Strausfeld’s recent projects are represented: Sugar, the user interface for the One Laptop per Child initiative, chosen to represent large-scale, community-oriented design and demonstrated in the exhibition on two XO laptops, and Lisa’s visualizations for the New York Times Magazine article “Rewiring the Spy,” featured as an example of a critical visualization. Two hundred other objects, installations and concepts are also on display including examples of nanodesign, 3-D printing and organic design.

“Design and the Elastic Mind” opens to the public on Sunday, 24 February and is on view through 12 May 2008.

He Sings, Too

Michael Bierut sings a voicemail message for designer Joshua Levi, who won the privilege with a high bid in the AIGA/NY Holiday Party auction. (Proceeds went to the AIGA/NY Mentoring Program.) A new option in Pentagram’s menu of services? Or a 5-second teaser for 79 Short Songs on Design?

Design Museum’s ‘Feedback’ Lecture Now Available on Podcast

Harry Pearce, John Rushworth and Paula Scher’s “Feedback” lecture held at the London Design Museum last year is now available as a podcast from the museum’s website.

The talk was organized as an accompaniment to the Design Museum’s retrospective “Alan Fletcher 50 Years of Graphic Work (and Play)” and was hosted by the exhibition’s curator Emily King. In the hour-long discussion, Pearce, Rushworth and Scher frequently refer to the ways in which Fletcher influenced their work and careers.

Click here to download the podcast.

Paula Scher at UDesign

Paula Scher will speak at UDesign, a graphic design conference to be held at Princeton University on 1 March. The student group Princeton University Student Design Agency has organized the conference on the premise that although the university lacks a graphic design major, exposure to the field is no less important.

Pentagram Honored for Leadership in Pro Bono Service


Pentagram’s New York office was honored last night by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for its work for nonprofit organizations. Paula Scher and Jim Biber were on hand to accept the honor during a ceremony held at the Harvard Club. Pentagram received the first annual “DNA” award for “its exceptional incorporation of pro bono service into its business culture.” Recent Pentagram pro bono projects include work for the Robin Hood Foundation, the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the Public Theater and the One Laptop Per Child initiative.

The award ceremony is part of a two-day Pro Bono Summit that has brought together 150 top corporate, government and nonprofit leaders to launch a multi-year campaign to dramatically increase the amount of skilled volunteering and pro bono service employees give to nonprofits and their communities. The leaders are discussing strategies for making the idea of “pro bono” as common in marketing, finance, technology, HR, logistics and other professions as it is in the legal field.

Speaking about the business advantages of doing pro bono work Scher stated: “A lot of the work we’ve done is outside, public, it’s very visible, and so clients will call us because they’ve seen the design. I can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve gotten through [pro bono work with] the Public Theater. We’re connected to virtually every cultural institution in the city. We are rewarded in recommendations; we’re included in groups where we find out information about things—it’s all very good business.”

Pro bono work has been part of the culture at Pentagram for decades as the partners and their teams donate their talents and time to enhance the design programs of cultural institutions and nonprofit organizations all over the city. “Pentagram Design is setting a powerful example of corporate citizenship that we hope other companies will follow,” said Jean Case, Chair of the Council. “Embracing a pro bono approach is good for employees, the community and the bottom line. America’s businesses have an extraordinary pool of skilled talent, and engaging corporate volunteers on a large scale could make a profound difference in the well-being of our communities and our country.”

The Council’s Pro Bono Award is given annually to six companies who are considered to be setting the standards of excellence in offering pro bono corporate skills to solve social challenges. This year’s other awardees are the Advertising Council; General Electric; Harvard Business School Community Partners; McKinsey & Company; and the Monitor Group.

Giants Win Super Bowl at Arizona Cardinals Stadium


Although our true loyalties lie with their crosstown rivals, Pentagram’s New York office was cheering on the New York Giants in their victory against the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl XLII. The game was the first Super Bowl to be played at the NFL’s newest stadium (now named University of Phoenix Stadium), opened in 2006 and for which Michael Gericke designed the environmental graphics and James Biber the interiors program. The structure was named by BusinessWeek magazine to be one of the most innovative sporting structures in the world and will be the home of future Super Bowls. Gericke was in attendance at the game, as was associate Don Bilodeau.

Snapshots from the event and a peek at a permanent tribute by Pentagram after the jump.

New Work: ‘Sex in Design/Design in Sex’


Designed for your pleasure: The exhibition Sex in Design/Design in Sex opens tonight at the Museum of Sex with exhibition design by James Biber and graphics by Michael Bierut. The show sets out to examine the subconscious, as well as the intended, sexual imagery in design as it is found in the objects we wear, live with and use for erotic pleasure. Design work such as Karim Rashid’s multipurpose lounger the Kairotic Karimsutra, Shiri Zinn’s quartz crystal dildo Minx and calibrated dilators by Rhett Butler of Kiki de Montparnasse are on view.

The intentionally austere exhibition design of Sex in Design/Design in Sex puts the objects in a context that more closely resembles the Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture and Design galleries than the Museum of Sex’s previous exhibitions. “This is the first truly uninflected look at these beautiful and occasionally quite strange objects,” says Biber. “And they are at their best in the rather deadpan environment we created. They didn’t need any help from us to look sexy.”

New Work: Glass House Projects


Michael Bierut and Yve Ludwig have designed Projects, a brochure for the Philip Johnson Glass House annual fundraising campaign. Featuring lush color photography, the brochure was conceived to be a catalog of the various Glass House projects in need of funds that allows donors to select the project their money goes towards. For example, a donor can choose to support the restoration of the Brick House, the conservation of the site-specific Donald Judd sculpture or the revitalization of David Whitney's Succulent Garden.

The brochure, mailed to several thousand potential donors, was intentionally designed to resemble a mail order catalog in its modest size and light weight and was delivered complete with an order form and a business reply envelope for donations. "The idea was to avoid the usual pompous fundraising publication and instead do something lively, accessible and fun," says Bierut. "The prestige and historic importance of the Glass House is well established; our intention was to let people know that anyone can get involved with its ongoing restoration." Last week the piece was featured on The Moment, the New York Times style blog.

Pentagram previously designed the Glass House identity and Visitors Center.

A look inside Projects after the jump.

Light Show

The screening room in the Montauk Residence designed by James Biber is visited by the Home & Garden section of the New York Times, in a special feature about lighting for dark rooms. “Because the theater is in the basement, it shouldn’t imitate an ordinary, windowed room in the house, and so I looked for inspiration elsewhere,” Biber tells Elaine Louie. “That elsewhere turned out to be Radio City Music Hall, where the lighting is hidden in the arches facing the stage.”