Pentagram Redesigns Christmas

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WNYC’s Public International Radio show Studio 360 asked Pentagram to redesign Christmas, and Pentagram’s partners and designers, with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, took on the challenge of reinventing one of the world’s most pervasive brands.

Paula Scher created a new inclusive brand architecture for the holiday: a variable naming structure that permits any number of words and symbols to precede the universal suffix “mas” (from the early Anglo-Saxon word for “festival”). Lisa Strausfeld proposed that “mas” be turned into a top level domain designation (“.mas”). Michael Gericke recommended that an international body be created to administer the new expanded holiday. Jim Biber designed a new universal icon; Abbott Miller created variations on the Christmas tree; Luke Hayman made lovely and downloadable wrapping paper. And Michael Bierut pitched the whole thing to Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen.

Visit the Studio 360 to hear the show, download wrapping paper, and mail an x.mas e-card. Or read all about it in the New York Times.

Special thanks to Don Bilodeau, Julia Hoffmann, Armin Vit and Michael Yi.

New Saks Identity Announced

The new Saks Fifth Avenue identity designed by Michael Bierut is announced in WWD (subscription required) and The Daily. The complete program launches in January.

New Work: The New York Times Magazine

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Lisa Strausfeld, with James Nick Sears, has designed the illustrations for the cover story of the December 3 issue of The New York Times Magazine. The piece, titled “Open-Source Spying,” is about whether blogs and wikis could be used by agencies like the C.I.A. and F.B.I. to combat terrorism. The visualizations create a three-dimensional space in which the physical relationship of actors, weapons and targets suggest their level of connection in an attack.

Update: Interactive versions of the visualizations here.

After the jump: More images and the story behind the project.

Graphic Fallout

Michael Bierut is among several designers who lament the passing of the old Civil Defense symbol—and the look of its replacement—in today’s Times.

Feedback Gets Around, Part 2

Feedback is “the ultimate guidebook,” says the Materialist.

Pentagram in Harmony With Williams/Tsien

A team consisting of Michael Bierut and the acclaimed architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien has been selected for the redesign of the Harmony Atrium, the underused, privately owned public space at Broadway and 62nd Street that was recently leased by Lincoln Center. The selection was announced in today’s Times; official LC release here.

Bottle Service

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Box of wine: Abbott Miller transformed an industrial shipping container into a cellar for a feature in the current issue of Food & Wine that asked three designers to propose new ideas for wine storage. Abbott jokes that his scheme, which places the shipping container into the side of a hill, would be perfect for an “eco-friendly Teletubby/hobbit hipster.”

Paula Scher, Design Master

Paula Scher is profiled as a “Master of Design” in the current issue of Fast Company.

Mush Note

“It’s a race to the bottom”: Michael Bierut comments on cereal box design in a review of the category by The Washington Post.

Beach Weekend

The Montauk Residence designed by James Biber was featured in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. (Scroll down to “High-Water Mark” in Style.) Pilar Viladas writes: “It may look breezy and insouciant, but it’s quite serious in its solid, sumptuous materials and attention to detail, like a villa that has found itself at the edge of the sea.”