Thursday, March 8, 2007


I am really excited to visit all of the companies because I feel like this is a once in a lifetime experience and I want to appreciate every minute of it. However, I am specifically excited to visit Paper Magazine and Pentagram. I am very interested in magazine layout and design. In fact, it is something that I am considering as a career option. I really like the design aesthetic of Paper magazine. Pentagram fascinates me because of their diverse and amazingly creative background of experience. I am especially interested in their print, books and packaging projects. I really like their packaging design for Chateau St. Jean winery and their identity design for The Public Theater. In terms of the trip in general, I am trying not to build up too many expectations so that I can keep an open mind and let NYC reveal itself to me. I’m excited to go to The Strand bookstore, The Guggenheim, MOMA, eat a Gray’s Papaya hot dog and have a cup of NYC coffee while walking in the snow/cold weather/rain. I want to take a walk through central park and go to the garment and fabric districts. And I am excited to see Avenue Q. I expect this trip to be more design and art oriented, rather than focusing on tourist attractions. While I can at times be the typical tourist, I find cities most interesting when I get the chance to explore their details (interesting restaurants and unique moments). On this trip, I feel like we are exploring a particular detail of New York and I am really interested in the opportunity to explore that detail.

I always imagine east coast design to be more historical and established than west coast design. Since it does not have as much historical background as east coast design, west coast design is a little more flashy and maverick-like. I do not want to say that west coast design is more innovative but that it is more willing to take chances and push boundaries than east coast design currently is.

I choose to do my research on Pentagram because I am fascinated with the aura and mystique that surrounds this highly revered company. It seems that for many designers, Pentagram is hallowed ground. Pentagram has an extremely diverse client list and they do everything from interior design and architecture to print and packaging design. While Pentagram began in London in 1972, they have since established offices in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Berlin. The house began as a partnership of five designers (Theo Crosby, Kenneth Grange, Colin Forbes, Mervyn Kurlansky, and Alan Fletcher), but has since expanded and is now a partnership of seventeen designers (Gibbs, 1993). These designers and their teams cover twelve areas of design: architecture, books, editorial, exhibitions, identity, interactive, interior, marks packaging, print, product, and signage (Pentagram). Pentagram’s design has always been known to be creative and innovative. For example, in 1965 they were asked to design a cover for the magazine, Graphis. In response to this task, they sent a package from London to Zurich with instructions to return it to the sender unopened. When they received the package after its trip, they photographed it and sent the image in as their cover art submission (Meggs & Purvis, 2006). While this anecdote is very entertaining, I think it also shows the innovative thinking that Pentagram is famous for.

Gibbs, D. (Ed.). (1993). Pentagram: The Compendium. London: Phaidon.
Meggs, P.B., & Purvis A. W. (2006). Megg’s History of Graphic Design. (4th ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Pentagram’s website -

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