Pentagram partner Michael Gericke collects 40 years of his work as a graphic designer in Graphic Life: Celebrating Places, Telling Stories, Making Symbols, his first career monograph, out now from Images Publishing Group.
Gericke’s work fluently crosses and connects image-making, communications, and the built environment. Graphic Life showcases a broad spectrum of over 125 projects encompassing visual identities, environmental graphics, posters, digital media, exhibitions, books, and advertising. The 520-page book is richly illustrated with over 375 images and includes several projects that have not been previously published.
The book features a preface by the celebrated architect Moshe Safdie, with whom Gericke has collaborated on many projects, and an introduction by the Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic and educator Paul Goldberger. Gericke writes an opening essay about the role of design, the elusive search for ideas, and the power of collaboration.
“Creating objects, tools, and moments that become a part of daily lives—it doesn’t matter if they are intended for tiny, extremely focused audiences and causes, or projects that reach many—is something that has always been a motivation for me,” writes Gericke. “By using the simple elements of form, color, type, image, and message—combined as a unique alloy for each use—design becomes an ever-changing means to celebrate a place, tell a story, or create a recognizable symbol that is built with meaning.”
In his foreword, Goldberger writes: “Every design he does so closely connects to something about its subject that you feel as if all Gericke has ever been trying to do is to coax forth the true nature of a place or a thing and understand its aspirations, and then present them with grace.”
The book loosely organizes the works by discipline—spanning three and two-dimensional work. “Places” traces Gericke’s place-making identities and environmental graphics for landmark architectural collaborations such as New York’s One World Trade Center; Moynihan Station; Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum; the Arizona Cardinals Stadium; Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport; and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, among many others.
“Images” includes posters, books, and campaigns for the AIA’s New York Chapter; the Center for Architecture; Rockefeller Center; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Pentagram itself. “Stories” features immersive exhibition designs for the New York Public Library, the Museum of the City of New York, and Lincoln Center. Logos and icons are collected in “Symbols,” including iconic marks for AirTrain, the National Gallery of Art, the FIFA World Cup, the College Football Championship, the Big Ten, and One Laptop Per Child.
In describing his view of design, Gericke writes, “I’ve found a graphic voice, like life, with many tones and inflections, can say quite a bit and tell quite a story.”