Last year Pentagram partner Emily Oberman and her team, were hired to brand a new kind of social club/coworking space in New York City for smart, successful women. Unlike traditional men’s social clubs that feature dark walls lined with taxidermy in an old world sense of style, The Wing is light and contemporary. It’s a haven for professional women looking to catch up on work, socialize with other likeminded women, read, grab a cup of coffee, even take a shower or get a blow-out before heading out for the night.
Oberman, who counts herself as a person for whom The Wing was created, was thrilled to be involved in the branding. “When we met with Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassen (cofounders of The Wing), it was love at first meeting. We all shared a similar sense of intelligent humor, design, style, and activism,” Oberman recalls. “The more we talked and shared inspirations, the more we felt that we could create something great together.”
The identity features 30 different Ws, which can be a risky move, but Oberman says it felt right. “The team picked a bunch of Ws to represent all of the women who make up the wing, and they said yes to all of them. Audrey did feel strongly that we needed a ‘hero’ W, so we collectively chose the one you see most often,” she explains. “We chose it because it is strong and curvy.” The different Ws embody a range of styles from eclectic, fun, sexy, smart, and serious. There is no one way to define a woman, after all.
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Michael Bierut’s How to Use Graphic Design to … (Harper Collins) is a compilation of a remarkable 35 year career in graphic design. Bierut has been a partner at Pentagram New York for 25 years, and before that he worked for the famed Massimo and Lella Vignelli, at Vignelli Associates. He is a past president of AIGA and he cofounded Design Observer. He says, “It was curiosity that led me to join Jessica Helfand, Rick Poynor, and the late Bill Drenttel in creating Design Observer. Writing about design was a way for me to think about the work we designers do, why we do it, and the effect it has on the world.”
In fact, his book, takes a deep look at his design journey and his life. Bierut’s frank commentary on what it takes to become a good designer is honest, compelling, and humbling as he shares his insights and his work, including his beloved collection of sketchbooks (more than 200 to date). There are more than 36 projects featured from start to finish that span his career and speak to the remarkable influence his work has had in the world.
TCG: What skills do you believe are most pivotal to graphic designers today?
Michael Bierut: I’ll just assume you know all the necessary software programs. The most important trait is curiosity. Can you get interested in the subject matter behind what you’re designing? Can that interest sustain you over the course of the project? Most importantly, can you tap into your enthusiasm as you search for design solutions?
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