999 Fonts in 60 Seconds

In Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, author Simon Garfield takes readers on a tour through all things typographic. The book, which received a rave this week from The New York Times, traces the development of typography through historic figures like Johannes Gutenberg, John Baskerville, Eric Gill and Jan Tschichold, while considering topics like legibility versus readability, the importance of typeface choice in political campaigns, the advent of digital type and corresponding explosion of new fonts, and what your favorite font says about you. (In the book, Garfield takes Pentagram’s own “What Type Are You?” test. He is Archer Hairline.)

Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani and Michael Bierut collaborated on the book’s trailer, a montage that sends the “Just My Type” title pulsing through 999 different fonts (more or less) in a minute. The trip starts and ends in Archer, the font used on the book’s US cover (designed by Roberto de Vicq de Clumptich), passing through much-loved fonts like Bodoni, Helvetica and Gotham, as well as ne’er-do-wells like Comic Sans, Papyrus and Arial. How many fonts can you spot?

Just My Type is out September 1 from Gotham Books. The book was originally published to acclaim in the UK last fall.

Project Team: Naresh Ramchandani, partner-in-charge and creative director; Michael Bierut, partner and designer; Katie Barcelona and Niko Skourtis, font compilers. Animation by Steven Qua.

New Work: Yale Tomorrow


In 2006, Yale University embarked on the most ambitious fundraising drive in its history. President Richard Levin laid out the campaign’s objectives and set a challenging goal: to raise three billion dollars in five years. This fall, the campaign comes to an end, crossing the finish line with an extraordinary $3.886 billion, a remarkable figure considering it was raised in the midst of one of the worst global recessions in recent history.

Pentagram is proud to have served as Yale’s consultants on this project, designing the campaign’s graphic identity, materials for the launch event, and communications pieces over the last half decade.

New Work: ‘Gloria’


The United States is represented at this year’s Venice Biennale by Gloria, a striking installation by the artist team of Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has designed the catalogue for the exhibition, one of the Biennale’s controversial highlights.

Based in Puerto Rico, Allora & Calzadilla’s work is known for its political edge and subversive humor. Installed in the U.S. Pavilion, Gloria is a broad commentary on U.S. nationalism, consumerism and global competitiveness on the international stage (including art biennials). Its works include Track and Field, a performance in which U.S. Olympian Dan O’Brien runs on a treadmill placed on an upside-down tank; Body in Flight (American) and Body in Flight (Delta), in which teams of gymnasts perform routines on the first- and business-class seats of the two airlines; and Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed, a replica of Armed Freedom, the neo-Classical statue from the dome of the U.S. Capitol, placed in a tanning bed.

Pentagram Turns 39


Founded in London in June 1972, Pentagram is celebrating its 39th birthday this summer. Our London office commemorated the occasion recently with a leisurely canal trip to London’s Little Venice. As a souvenir of the day staff were treated to an edition of John Buchan’s The 39 Steps with a custom cover design by Pentagram’s Angus Hyland and Zara Moore.

In New York, Pentagram staff walked about 39 steps to their favorite urban oasis, Madison Square Park, for a lively evening of food and drink hosted by the park conservancy.

Paula Scher, Eddie Opara Talk Type for PBS

Pentagram’s Paula Scher and Eddie Opara are among the designers featured in a typography-themed episode of “Off Book,” the new web series from PBS Arts. In the video, Scher and Opara talk about using type to create identity and texture, and share some of their own typographic influences. “Words have meaning and type has spirit,” says Scher. “And the combination is spectacular.”

Inside The New York Times Building


One of the best-reviewed documentaries of the summer, “Page One: Inside The New York Times” is a new film directed by Andrew Rossi that takes viewers inside the newsroom of the world’s greatest newspaper. The film portrays a particularly tumultuous year at the Times (it was filmed in 2009) during which the paper navigates the economic downturn and a changing media landscape that includes increasing competition from free online news aggregation (the paper’s digital pay-wall has since proven largely successful), social media like Twitter and Facebook, and new sources like WikiLeaks. Much of this is related through the pugnacious and highly entertaining presence of David Carr, the Times’ media columnist.

The film’s setting is The New York Times Building, the state-of-the-art headquarters designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and while Pentagram’s signage for the building doesn’t quite have a starring role, it definitely makes a long series of cameo appearances. For the building’s opening in 2007, Michael Bierut and team created a customized program of environmental graphics, including a massive landmark sign on the building’s façade and an interior program of wayfinding and identification signage. This interior signage, largely unseen except by staff, visitors and other insiders is unusual: there are over 800 office signs—each different, and each unmistakably part of the Times.

Awards: Society for Environmental Graphic Design 2011


Supergraphics won big in this year’s SEGD Design Awards, recently announced. Two New York projects by Pentagram’s Paula Scher and team were honored in the awards: Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and the parking garage at 13-17 East 54th St. in Midtown Manhattan. Both projects use large-scale typography to create unique environments that integrate graphics and architecture.

‘Design for a Living World’ on View in Chicago


This summer Design for a Living World, the landmark exhibition presented by the Nature Conservancy and designed by Pentagram’s Abbott Miller, has traveled to the Field Museum in Chicago, where it remains on view through November 13.

Design for a Living World was co-curated by Miller and Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, where the show debuted in 2009. The exhibition commissioned 10 designers from the fields of fashion, product and industrial design to develop new uses for sustainably grown and harvested materials from a specific place where the Conservancy works. The participating designers include Yves Béhar, Stephen Burks, Hella Jongerius, Maya Lin, Christien Meindertsma, Isaac Mizrahi, Ted Muehling, Paulina Reyes from Kate Spade, Ezri Tarazi and Miller himself. Locations include endangered ecosystems in Australia, Micronesia, China, Mexico, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Alaska, Idaho and Maine. The resulting designs demonstrate that by choosing sustainable materials, designers can actively contribute to the advancement of a global conservation ethic.

In addition to co-curating and participating in the exhibition, Miller and his team at Pentagram designed the exhibition and its companion book and website. The exhibition is designed to travel and the modular scheme originally installed at Cooper-Hewitt’s Carnegie Mansion in New York has been adapted for the Field Museum. The installation includes a new piece by Meindertsma inspired by the Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands in northern Illinois.

How Would You Like That Cooked?


Summer is prime grilling season, and everyone loves a good burger, whether rare or well done. For Bobby’s Burger Palace, the burger joint from celebrity chef Bobby Flay, Michael Bierut and Joe Marianek have created a handy color chart to illustrate the various levels of cooking. The diagram is part of the identity we designed for the restaurant. Of course at Pentagram we’re always partial to warm red.