Profile: Pentagram Design

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9780714843773: Profile: Pentagram Design

Pentagram, founded in 1972, is one of the best known and most influential graphic, product, and architectural design firms in the world. Its partners are distinguished members of the international design community, consistently generating award-winning work of the highest quality. Profile is the first ever book on Pentagram to include the design firm's newest partners - Fernando Gutierrez, D J Stout, Lisa Strausfeld and Abbott Miller. The book is a unique collection of essays on Pentagram's nineteen partners by best-selling authors, revered design critics, editors, and other well-known cultural figures. Eloquent and insightful explorations into the personalities, thought processes, careers and quirks of the different partners, the essays are generously illustrated with examples of both key projects and lesser-known works. Profile not only sheds light on 19 individual talents, but also provides a comprehensive overview of the legendary firm that has influenced the course of design for over 30 years. Included is a foreword on Pentagram's history and evolution by Rick Poynor, one of today's most respected design critics and founder of the incisive British graphic-design magazine Eye. Pentagram began with five partners; today, there are 19 working in London, New York, Austin, San Francisco and Berlin. With a list of clients that reads like a Who's Who of both the commercial and cultural worlds, the firm has over the last several years continued to produce influential, diverse, award-winning work: Justus Oehler's corporate identity for the Star Alliance, Fernando Gutierrez's editorial designs for Colors and Matador magazines, Lorenzo Apicella's mobile tourist pavilion for the Hong Kong Tourist Authority, Abbott Miller's exhibition design for Harley Davidson, and Lisa Strausfeld's media wall project for New York's Penn Station are but a few examples. Since Pentagram's inception, the firm has taken care to document its work and evolution - Pentagram: The Compendium was published by Phaidon in 1993. Profile follows this tradition, showcasing both recent and classic projects, introducing new partners, and analysing the company's position in the design world as it embraces the new millennium. However, Profile is far more than 'just' the latest Pentagram survey: rather than painting another group portrait, it takes a new approach and focuses on the individual partners who together make up the whole. In 19 individual and well-illustrated essays by acclaimed writers, critics and journalists, the different partners are profiled with incisive wit and insight. What emerges is a sharper than ever understanding of the unique talents whose commonalities and idiosyncrasies inflect the character of Pentagram as a whole.

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Review:

Corporate design may often look as though it were created by a machine, or a committee. But the most memorable and beautiful consumer products, packaging, and environments are the work of individuals with high standards and a unique vision. Profile Pentagram Design focuses on the personalities of the 19 partners who run the world-famous firm based in London, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas. Lively essays by 19 writers, including radio host Kurt Andersen, novelist Louis Begley, and author Alain de Botton, humanize the firm's serenely iconic status. Each partner's approach involves a personal blend of intuition and analysis. Kit Hinrichs, who has worked for companies from Crocker Bank to Dryer's Ice Cream, says he creates "time bridges" in his work with treasured objects from his suburban California youth, including Boy Scout merit badges, Popular Mechanics magazines, and an edition of the Bible in which key passages were printed in red type. Daniel Weil says his understated designs for plates, blankets and other cabin accessories for United Airlines were based on a study of purchasing systems and business customer expectations. While Pentagram is known for the elegance and clarity of its work, some of the partners push that classicism into unexpected places. Paula Sher's passion is letterforms. She views typography as a kind of illustration, with huge, bold letters staking out psychic territory on a poster or swarming over a building. Then there's DJ Stout, former art director at Texas Monthly magazine, who put a drawing of Ross Perot as Alfred E. Newman on the cover of the June 1992 issue. As a Pentagram partner, Stout's wit takes more subtle forms, including his canny remake of an early Land's End lighthouse symbol into a timeless emblem—-a stack of three white stripes topped with a triangular beacon. Elegantly designed (by Pentagram), with more than 200 illustrations, this book is a must for anyone interested in the look of contemporary objects, from books to buildings. —-Cathy Curtis

About the Author:

Susan Yelavich is a writer based in New York. The Assistant Director for Public Programs at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 1994-2002, Yelavich co-curated the museum's acclaimed 2003 National Design Triennial. Her publications include Inside Design Now (2003) and The Edge of the Millennium (1993). Rick Poynor writes on design and the visual arts. He is the founder of Eye magazine, the acclaimed international review of graphic communication, which he edited from 1990-7. His books include Typographica, Obey the Giant: Life in the Image World and No More Rules. He has also contributed to Beware Wet Paint, published by Phaidon.

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Susan Yelavich; Rick Poynor
ISBN 10: 0714843776 ISBN 13: 9780714843773
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