For nearly a century, Bennington College has stood for excellence, innovation and rigor in liberal arts education. Founded in 1932, the prestigious private college offers an interdisciplinary, student-led education on a beautiful campus in Bennington, Vermont. Pentagram has designed a viewbook for the school that introduces prospective students to life at the college and its unique approach to individualized study, complete with a custom typeface that embodies this flexibility.
Students at Bennington can formulate their own education through a structured process called “The Bennington Plan.” The school has a stellar reputation in the arts—its alumni include writers Bret Easton Ellis and Donna Tartt, artists Helen Frankenthaler and Sally Mann, and actors Peter Dinklage and Justin Theroux—but many of its graduates also find careers in fields such as science, law, medicine and technology. One of the goals of the viewbook was to present a more balanced and well-rounded view of the institution, captured in the title: “You contain multitudes. So should your education.”
Bennington’s curriculum encourages students to select seemingly dissimilar courses of study. This approach inspired Pentagram to create a custom typeface, Bennington Hybrid, that combines serif and sans serif characters in each of its letterforms. The font has a built-in versatility that allows it to be used across various areas of study as part of a cohesive institutional identity.
The Pentagram team worked with writer Andrea Jarrell to develop content that highlights Bennington as a multi-faceted institution. Each spread of the viewbook focuses on a different aspect of the college, from its courses, programs and field work, to national rankings and statistics on admission, to famous alumni, faculty and visiting lecturers.
The book is dense with details, all presented in a highly visual way in annotated images that describe the opportunities for students to “hyphenate their future” on their own academic paths. Photography by Maria Spann and Luise Stauss uses a natural, documentary style to engage prospective students and convey what it’s really like to experience Bennington.