Surely the most nerve-wracking job a designer can undertake is a wholesale brand redesign. The public-facing nature of the work combined with the threat of vitriol from the brand’s loyal fans must be enough to keep you up for nights on end. So imagine the pressure if you’re tasked with creating a new set of brand guidelines for two of publishing’s biggest names and their 250 individual imprints. It hardly bears thinking about.
But Pentagram’s Michael Bierut has just completed such a job, uniting Penguin and Random House visually with a carefully considered word mark and a pair of orange book ends. Infuriatingly for Michael and his team, both of these giants of publishing have longstanding reputations for considered design and existing logos that represent hundreds of years of heritage, but the simplicity of the new type-written mark allows this heritage to live on through its numerous iterations.
While the work doesn’t have the cheeky charm of the world-renowned penguin, or the cosy feel of Random House’s little house, it effortlessly solves a complex problem and is testament to Michael’s unassuming but impressive skill as a designer.