I really love Pentagram, don’t get me wrong. But I wonder if any of them ever just want to do some crazy design stuff. They stick so close to the intellectual and timeless stuff that you really have wonder if any of them are ever like F-It I’m gonna use some layers and gradients on this bitch.
Probably not, and I respect them for it. It’s such an interesting business model, so diverse in background with individual partners but yet they all have a very classic approach, so when something comes out of them you easily see it as Pentagram work.
That being said when I get some extra loot I’ll be picking this little pickle up for myself.
Aboe, I totally know where you’re coming from. The way I see it, Pentagram as a whole has got so much momentum as a power house in the industry that moving forward, their clients all depend on them and expect that signature grade-A work. Not to say that today’s recent trends aren’t wonderful, but like you pointed out – Pentagram has maintained a certain presence that is mostly recognized as high in quality and this is what people anticipate with each project.
With that said, I would argue that there are a handful of recent projects that totally fit into today’s ‘younger’ trends; Michael Beirut’s recent Museum for Arts and Design identity does feel quite contemporary, and as far as wild gradients go, Justus Oehler’s Ambigram identity, as well as – and especially so – Abbott Miller’s recent edition of 2wice: Every Body Dance really push the wild color. I would even go so far as to speculate that Paula Scher’s Truvia packaging is a relatively unexpected piece for Pentagram.
I don’t know, I think if you held any of those pieces up to a young designer and asked if they saw anything groundbreaking in the those pieces they probably wouldn’t be that wowed by any of those without you telling them that Pentagram did it. They are all really nice pieces, but don’t see anything that is really breaking new ground visually, maybe conceptually. Of course how can you do anything new these days and still have it be in print? I mean look at the design trends today, Swiss is so hot right now….again.
Pentagram is kind of like the Roles Royce of design shops. The wow factor is in their legacy, and you may not get something that feels fresh and young but you will get something that is right. I guess I’m saying they are old, but not old as in boring and old. But old like Lester Beall is old, I think that is where they are now. They’ve successfully made that transition without falling into the trap of trying to reinvent themselves every couple years to keep up with the kids. (I’m at this crossroads myself right now and probably why I’m commenting.)
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