Pentagram has designed a visual identity and system for The Moholy-Nagy Foundation, reflecting its mission to promote, research and preserve the legacy of László Moholy-Nagy’s life and work.
Born in Hungary, Moholy-Nagy was a true renaissance man. A skilled artist, photographer, filmmaker and writer, he was also a professor at the Bauhaus School in Weimar. Along with fellow Bauhaus Masters Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, Moholy-Nagy was part of the circle of émigré artists and intellectuals who lived in the Isokon Building in North London in the 1930s. After the war, Moholy-Nagy was invited to move to Chicago to establish the Chicago School of Design, a radical school of design which was known as the ‘New Bauhaus’.
Moholy-Nagy’s legacy of design in all of its dimensions led his daughter Hattula Moholy-Nagy to establish the Foundation in 2003. Now guided by a prestigious board of directors connected to the artist and from the contemporary art world, its aim is to foster the artist’s legacy by conducting research on his life and work, and developing new programs, affiliations and partnerships. The Foundation has developed a comprehensive online archive, and offers an authentication service providing accurate information to private individuals and institutions.
Pentagram designed an expressive brand identity for the Foundation, following the mindset and methods the artist used in his own work. Moholy-Nagy was known for his experimental photographs with light, known as photograms, and these directly informed the design team’s craft-based approach. A set of typographic forms were created by hand in the studio using a series of projections using light and water, and these intriguing letterforms form the basis of the fluid identity.
The team created a distinctive typographic wordmark which appears across all of the Foundation’s printed matter and online—this includes letterheads, business cards and other collateral. The team also designed the Foundation’s website, which as well as being a comprehensive resource on the artist’s life also acts as an extensive online archive of the Moholy-Nagy’s work.
The typeface used throughout is Riposte by Good Type Foundry. The neo-grotesque typeface is inspired by mid-century fonts, with contemporary features that bring a sense of modernity to the brand identity, while allowing for a clear archival language. A restrained colour palette of black, white and sand is based on the influence of light and Moholy-Nagy’s work and mediums. The neutral colours allow for use across all applications and alongside any artwork.
Using techniques inspired by the artist’s experimental approach, Marina Willer and her team created a striking and sympathetic identity which, without mimicking his groundbreaking work, perfectly honours his amazing legacy.