New Work: Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy of Arts

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A major solo exhibition of Anish Kapoor, one of the world’s most influential artists, opened this past weekend at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The Turner Prize-winning sculptor, known for his monumental public sculptures in cities around the world, is the first living artist to be exhibited in the entire main floor of the academy.

The visual identity for the exhibition, including posters, banners and other collateral, was designed by Harry Pearce and Associate Jason Ching in close collaboration with Anish Kapoor and the RA. Central to the identity is an image from Kapoor’s Shooting into the Corner, created by a cannon shooting red wax up against the walls and floor of the gallery space.

The exhibition remains on view until 11 December. Images of the campaign after the jump.

New Work: House of Cards

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Fifty-three of the UK’s leading artists and designers including our own Domenic Lippa have created a unique collection of art inspired by Shelter’s House of Cards campaign. Shelter is a UK charity that works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing. In 2008 Shelter, in association with Leo Burnett London, launched the House of Cards campaign to raise awareness of the housing insecurity facing millions of families in the UK, where more than 1.9 million households await social housing and an estimated 65,000 face repossession this year. The campaign’s acclaimed TV commercial directed by Dom and Nic uses Radiohead’s “Videotape” as its soundtrack and features a voiceover by the actress Samantha Morton, who lived in a hostel for the homeless as a young woman.

Following the success of the campaign Leo Burnett developed the idea of inviting 53 artists to design a set of playing cards. Participating artists include Damien Hirst and Marc Quinn, photographers David Bailey and Rankin and designers Kyle Cooper and M/M (Paris). The original artwork will be displayed in an exhibition at Haunch of Venison that opens today and runs through Monday, 28 September. Members of the public can place silent bids on the artwork throughout the exhibition, with a selection of the pieces going to a live auction on Monday night. All proceeds go to Shelter.

Leo Burnett approached Pentagram with the brief to create an identity for the campaign and event, an exhibition catalogue and a limited-edition box of A5 playing cards. Domenic Lippa and designer Jeremy Kunze developed a logotype that played on the idea of the rearranged letters and a symbol of a “H” that combined pictograms of the suits from the cards and a pictogram of a house. All invitations, catalogue and cards were designed with radius corners to reflect the playing cards. Patterns were printed in various colours and varnishes to give all the items a sense of desirability and quality. Lippa produced the Jack of Spades card for the set.

A show of the program and several of the cards after the jump.

New Work: Bard Graduate Center

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Paula Scher has designed a new identity for the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture. Founded in 1993 by Susan Weber, BGC’s director, the school is an important academic institution devoted to the study of the history of the material world, the objects that people make to transform their surroundings: architecture, craft and design. It is one of the only programs of its kind in the country and a top school for scholars and curators of the decorative arts. The center is affiliated with Bard College and is located in a pair of townhouses on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Scher designed BGC’s first logo when the center opened in 1993. The original logo was a monogram of three letters set in Baskerville with a decorated “G” and was applied to letterhead and the covers of brochures without any established format or system. It was pretty, and it communicated that the school was devoted to the decorative arts. But in the years since, BGC has grown in size and stature, and the logo began to seem precious and no longer conveyed the breadth of the center’s programs. The launch of the new identity is timed to a major renovation and expansion of the school by Polshek Partnership Architects. The center has also officially changed its name to the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, lengthening it slightly from the already long Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture. The school needed a new institutional identity that communicated its importance. A simple, static logotype was no longer enough for the institution; its identity must function as a flexible system that supports broad applications across multiple platforms.

Letters of Warning

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A Homeland Security task force will soon review and possibly change the system of color-coded terrorism alerts implemented in the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks. For an Op-Art exercise in Sunday’s New York Times, four graphic designers were asked to develop a new, better system of alerts. Paula Scher created a two-letter system that uses C to stand for Caution and A for Alert. (The A gets an extra slash across its form for added emphasis.) Kurt Andersen provides online audio commentary and judges Scher’s submission to be the most effective because it acknowledges there are really only two states of warning when it comes to terrorism: Caution (“We will always need to be cautious,” says Scher) and full-on Alert.

‘26 Exchanges’ Exhibition to Feature at London Design Festival

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Pentagram has collaborated with International PEN, 26 and UNESCO to produce 26 Exchanges: Journeys Between and Behind the Lines of Language, a typographic installation that explores what happens when one language adventures boldly into another. The exhibition will be on view as part of the London Design Festival.

For the exhibition, members of 26 were twinned with PEN members from around the world to translate a text and tell the story of its journey in translation. Using their own resources, the participants searched for ways to understand stories in Basque, Khasi, Ndebele and Aymara, among others, to find meaning and connections across cultures. Harry Pearce and Simon Sankarayya of AllofUs then reinterpreted the stories and accompanying issues of translation as typographic animations. The digital installation also features readings from and conversations between the participants. The project is also featured in Design Week.

The exhibition will be on view from September 21 - 25 at The Royal Academy of Engineering. It will then move to Paris in October for the UNESCO international conference on translation. More information here.

New Work: Guitar Hero

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Since its birth less than five years ago, the rise of Activision’s Guitar Hero franchise has been nothing short of astonishing, vaulting Activision to the position of top US video game publisher with total revenues of $2.9 billion. The Guitar Hero series has sold over 25 million units worldwide, and is widely regarded as a genuine cultural phenomenon.

Today, Guitar Hero releases Guitar Hero 5, setting the stage for the next evolution of Activision’s business growth: the introduction later this fall of Band Hero and DJ Hero. This required the company to reexamine its overall brand identity for the first time. Activision enlisted Pentagram to assist in this effort.

Painting the Town Red (and Pink and Turquoise and Green)

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Following the iconic black and white bags we created for Cass Art London, Angus Hyland and his team have produced a new series of twelve variations celebrating colour in art. With reference to our interiors for the Cass Art flagship store, the bag designs are typographic compositions featuring traditional oil colours and expressing their provenance throughout art history.

More bags after the jump.

Preview: Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

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Throughout the past year, we have been refreshing the identity of Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Pentagram’s relationship with the Cathedral, an extraordinary New York institution, goes back ten years. We designed its previous identity in 1999. Shortly after 9/11, the Cathedral was severely damaged by fire; a painstaking seven-year restoration followed, and the interior was reopened to great acclaim last November. The updated identity, which has been slowly introduced over the past few months, builds on the success of the reopening.