The British Film Institute (BFI)’s, Sight and Sound magazine has an amazing heritage—established in 1932, it has long been considered one of the international authorities on film. British and World independent and arthouse film is at the heart of its remit, but it covers every aspect of moving-image culture, from TikTok, experimental film and TV series to Hollywood blockbusters.
Pentagram was asked to look at the Sight and Sound brand as a whole, which centered around the complete redesign of the printed magazine. The rebrand marks Sight and Sound’s move towards a powerful new identity that encompasses both print and digital, celebrating film as a unique art form but with the magazine remaining at the core of the brand ecosystem.
With a nod to Sight and Sound’s heritage, the new logo is a reimagining of a previous design from the 1970s using Aldo Novarese’s classic Eurostile and referencing an era that believed in film’s indisputable place in culture and society. The confident new logo (which now features the word ‘and’ in place of the ampersand) was developed to work seamlessly across all off- and on-screen applications.
Pentagram worked on a complete redesign of the magazine, giving it a more contemporary look that makes the most of the magazine’s rich editorial content. The magazine’s design language is inspired by the graphic language of film clapperboards, with bold typography and visible grids used throughout. These are used to emphasise words, give a contrast in pace and create layouts with real impact.
Condensed and semi-condensed versions of 205TF’s Plaak feature as the headline typeface with Matthew Carter’s Big Caslon used for body copy. The bold juxtaposition of type and images adds drama to the opening spreads, and images can appear as full-bleed, cropped, or cut-out circles. Some spreads also feature headlines running vertically for extra impact.
Black (a colour closely associated with film and cinema) features heavily in all of the brand communications (including merchandise and social media), and the design team created a complementary colour palette to be used alongside it. Different colour backgrounds are used to signpost each section within the magazine, and the masthead colour on the cover changes according to the content. The magazine launches with four different cover stars (Chloé Zhao, Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola and Luca Guadagnino) who all contribute to the issue’s special ‘Future of Film’ theme.
Alongside the redesign, the magazine’s new Editor-in-Chief Mike Williams has refreshed the editorial content with new contributors and sections, greater access to the magazine’s unique archive interviews, and a quarterly collaboration with seminal 90s publication Black Film Bulletin. The print magazine is supported by social media and digital channels with real-time reviews and commentary.
Sight and Sound has gathered a loyal and discerning worldwide community of cinephiles through both its printed and digital content. Pentagram’s new identity and redesign of the magazine is a confident expression of the hugely respected brand and will ensure that Sight and Sound will continue to appeal to film lovers old and new for years to come.