See Opposite: Twelve Antigrams


An antigram is a rare type of anagram. If you take a word or phrase, and using all the same letters, make another word or phrase with the opposite meaning, or antonym, then the new word or phrase is called the “antigram” of the original. For instance, the antigram of “united” is “untied”—same letters, opposite meaning.

Every year Pentagram designs and publishes a small greeting booklet, usually designed around a game or activity, that we send to our friends, clients and colleagues. This year’s edition is See Opposite: Twelve Antigrams, designed by Angus Hyland and his team in our London office. The book contains twelve antigrams, with clues on the facing pages (“see opposite”). We have adapted the puzzles for an online version here.

Go to See Opposite: Twelve Antigrams

See if you can figure out the antigrams. For each, the subject word or phrase is given at the top of the page. You can then work out the antigram with the help of the clue and the illustration.

A gallery of our previous holiday books, from 1971 to 2008, was featured in Wallpaper; last year’s greeting was our popular What Type are You typography test.

Project Team: Angus Hyland, partner-in-charge and designer; Fabian Herrmann, Zara Moore, Alex Johns, designers. Writer: David Gibbs. Website development by Niko Skourtis.

New Work: TheStreet


TheStreet is a leading digital financial media company whose network of digital services provides users with a variety of content and tools through a range of online, social media, tablet and mobile channels. The company was co-founded by Jim Cramer, the popular stock market analyst of “Mad Money” fame, and in addition to publishes a network of sites including RealMoney, Stockpickr, BankingMyWay, and MainStreet. The company’s mission is to provide the most actionable ideas from the world of investing, finance and business and break down information barriers to level the playing field and help all individuals and organizations grow their wealth.

As part of a company-wide rebranding, TheStreet is launching a new graphic identity designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher. TheStreet is authoritative, accessible, and up-to-the-minute, and the new identity is modern, distinctive and cohesive, strengthening the brand across TheStreet’s various sites and platforms. Set in a modified Akzidenz Grotesk, the new logotype appears above three short lines that suggest lines in the street or balance sheets. (The number of lines was inspired by the market positions of buy, sell and hold.) The identity also appears as a monogram of the letters “TS” that can be used as an icon for apps and social media like Twitter. The designers created a family of logos for the site’s affiliates that all read as being part of TheStreet.

New Work: ‘Hard Ground’ by Michael O’Brien, Poems by Tom Waits


Two years ago we published Pentagram Papers 39, called SIGNS, which focused on the issue of homelessness in America. SIGNS featured a selection of hand-drawn homeless signs, photographed by Randal Ford, and gritty black and white portraits of homeless people by Michael O’Brien. The signs featured in Ford’s color photographs were from the personal collection of Texas music legend Joe Ely, who wrote the introduction to the book recounting his own experience of being homeless.

After the publication of SIGNS, O’Brien continued to work on his large format homeless portraits, which grew into a sizable body of work. O’Brien sent a selection of his photographs to the renowned singer-songwriter Tom Waits, described by the New York Times as “the poet of outcasts.” Waits, inspired by O’Brien’s powerful portraits, composed a series of poems, and the notion of a larger expanded volume was born. Hard Ground, published by The University of Texas Press, and designed by DJ Stout and Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office, features 78 of O’Brien’s portraits and 23 original poems by Waits. The combination creates a portrait of homelessness that impels us to look into the eyes of people who are down on their luck and recognize our common humanity. Hard Ground transcends documentary and presents independent yet powerfully complementary views of the trials of homelessness and the resilience of people who survive on the streets.

New Work: One Laptop per Child


Since it began issuing laptops in 2007, One Laptop per Child, the initiative to put low-cost computers in the hands of the world’s poorest children, has provided its XO laptops to an astonishing 2 million students and teachers in countries and regions all over the world. The program, founded by Nicholas Negroponte, has fostered a growing community of educators, developers and supporters, and has helped change the lives of children in Afghanistan, Paraguay, Madagascar, Kenya, India, Argentina, Nepal, Gaza and the West Bank, among others.

Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld and her team have designed a new site for OLPC that helps focus on this new phase of the project: the use of the laptops and how they are helping to empower children. Previous versions of the OLPC site emphasized the organization’s mission and laptop technology. Now that the laptops are in use, the new site details the accomplishments of the program, helps create a sense of community and encourages continued support. The site has an editorial focus and acts as a kind of OLPC “mother ship,” or hub, that serves to aggregate news and information about OLPC and surface the communities that have grown up around the program. The homepage shares stories and photos of children and classrooms that use the laptops. News updates are color-coded by source, and the site features an interactive map of the world that shows the countries and regions that have signed on to the initiative, with links to local updates via the OLPC Wiki. The site uses the language of simple graphic icons that Pentagram’s Michael Gericke developed for the organization’s identity. The new site was developed by Upstatement.

Pentagram has been involved with OLPC since the organization’s inception. This is the third time we’ve designed the OLPC site, following the initial launch in 2007 and an update in 2008. Michael Gericke designed the OLPC identity, and Lisa Strausfeld designed Sugar, the XO laptop’s graphical user interface.

New Work: Builder


Builder magazine has undergone an extensive redesign by Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and his team. Published by Hanley Wood, the number one media company covering construction, the title is the industry leader. The redesign took place as part of a holistic company initiative, following a thorough period of self-evaluation as Hanley Wood looked both internally and at the trade as a whole, for realignment and innovation.

Innovation became a major thrust for the project as the construction industry and associated businesses are rapidly evolving and adapting to new technology. As more of Builder’s content migrated online, the existing print structure was poised for change.

Pentagram Launches New Website


Every designer or design firm faces the challenge of how best to show their portfolio online. Which projects make the cut? How many images? What do potential clients want to see? For our new site, launched last week, we’ve taken the maximal approach, creating an image-driven, easily navigable collection of hundreds of our projects that will continue to grow as we finish new work. The site allows users to view multiple projects at once and take a closer look at portfolios of each project.

New Work: ‘Michelangelo Pistoletto’


Michelangelo Pistoletto is one of Italy’s most influential contemporary artists, a co-founder of the Arte Povera movement whose works link Pop, Conceptual Art, Minimalism and Post-Minimalism. Michelangelo Pistoletto: From One to Many, 1956-1974 is a major retrospective of the artist’s work now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller designed the exhibition catalogue, which collects over 100 of Pistoletto’s works in painting, sculpture and performance art, and texts by the artist about his work. The exhibition was organized with MAXXI—Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo in Rome, where it opens in March.

Pistoletto’s art often functions as a collaboration with the spectator, and he is perhaps best known for his Quadri specchianti (Mirror Paintings), Photo Realist images on mirror-finished steel that make the viewer part of the works. For the catalogue, Miller has covered the book in silver foil that catches the reader’s reflection. (The paper is Strike! Foil with a matte laminate.) Opening spreads of the book’s essays also make use of silver pages. Kievit is the font family used throughout the book.

A look inside the book after the jump.

New Work: Saks Holiday Catalog


Following the success of the inclusion of Conundrums in the 2008 and 2009 Saks holiday catalogs, the team at Saks Fifth Avenue asked Pentagram’s Harry Pearce to come up with another idea to add a bit of fun to this year’s publication.

Given that the iconography of Christmas was defined by the Victorians, Pearce took the Victorian tradition of the rebus as his inspiration and created 76 puzzles to be scattered throughout the catalog. Pearce and his team created an individual image for each puzzle and then provided the images and a style guide to Saks who dropped them into the publication. The cover of the catalog features the “I’m Going to Saks” campaign and store identity designed by Michael Bierut.

Have a go and see if you can solve the puzzles. All 76 rebuses follow, along with images of the puzzles in the catalog. Solutions can be found at the end of this piece.

New Work: Parking at 13-17 East 54th St.


As holiday shoppers exit stores across the nation, heading out into vast lots and garages, the most important thing on their minds is not what baubles they’ve bought their loved ones but rather, “Where the @#$%&! did we park the car?” Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed graphics for a Midtown Manhattan garage that make sure drivers never forget where the car is.

Imagining Emotional Spell-Check

Have you ever sent an email in the heat of the moment that you later regretted? Have you ever received such an email? (We have.) Imagine software that would auto-correct your messages to eliminate harsh words, smooth over rough language, and magically turn stormy to temperate.

The 10th Annual Year in Ideas issue of the New York Times Magazine reports on an email plug-in by Canadian startup Lymbix that does just that. To illustrate the concept, the Times commissioned Pentagram to create a short animated film for the magazine’s online edition. Michael Bierut and Christina Nizar imagined a personal avatar capable of turning any nasty email into something perfectly (more or less) innocuous.

To see the other ideas, including animations by Buck, Grandchildren, and Studio AKA, visit the Year in Ideas site. The print edition will be published on December 17th.