BFI’s iconic film magazine Sight and Sound gets an identity revamp by Pentagram

To better represent the publication's heritage, the new issue features bold typography, visible grids and cover stars Chloé Zhao, Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola and Luca Guadagnino.

Date
2 August 2021
Reading Time
3 minute read

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Renowned film magazine Sight and Sound – which was founded in 1932 and has been at the helm of film publishing for almost 100 years – has undergone a redesign by Pentagram for the release of its September issue, launching today and published by the British Film Institute. Featuring four iconic cover stars Chloé Zhao, Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola and Luca Guadagnino, the magazine presents a revamped look under the theme of Future of Film, with a host of fresh contributors and sections, plus access to the magazine’s archive interviews through a quarterly collaboration with 90s publication Black Film Bulletin.

In line with the magazine’s new look, Pentagram has redesigned the visual identity to serve as a tribute to the publication’s longstanding heritage. “It was a huge honour to redesign a magazine that holds such an extraordinary place in the hearts of cinephiles from all over the world,” says Marina Willer, Pentagram partner, in the release. “With a nod to the magazine’s amazing heritage, Sight and Sound’s new logo is a reimagining of a previous design from the 1970s, referencing an era that believed in film’s indisputable place in culture and society.”

The redesign therefore features a graphic language inspired by film clapperboards – the device used to synch picture and sound while making a film – “with bold typography and visible grids used throughout to add emphasis to the magazine’s rich content, give a contrast in pace and create layouts with real impact,” continues Marina. “The new-look Sight and Sound is a confident expression of the hugely respected brand, and will hopefully ensure that the magazine continues to appeal to film lovers old and new for years to come.”

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound, September issue, featuring cover star Steve McQueen. (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

In the new issue, Sight and Sound returns with its regular sections such as the Editors’ Choice, a collection of recommendations by editors, and Dream Palaces odes to cinemas by filmmakers and more. The new additions include Talkies, a section of first-person opinion pieces with columnists such as Pamela Hutchinson, Jonathan Ross and Phuong Le. The column Director’s Chair will also see filmmakers share their views in each issue, with the first issue featuring Swedish director Ruben Östlund and documentary filmmaker Kirsten Johnson in the second. Another new page is This Month In… which presents an archive issue from the past. Issue one has published an interview with Bette Davis, which is arriving in time with BFI Southbank’s Bette Davies: Hollywood Rebel season, running throughout August.

The issue’s four famed cover stars are fitting, with Chloé Zhao making headlines and winning Best Picture at this year’s Oscars for her third feature Nomadland. Steve McQueen also won 2012 Best Film Oscar for 12 Years a Slave and his acclaimed series Small Axe sparked necessary conversations among British television this year; meanwhile Sofia Coppola won the best original screenplay Oscar for Lost in Translation; and Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name was nominated for multiple Oscars and Baftas.

Alongside the bigger names, there’s a plethora of established and emerging filmmakers featured in the issue too. This includes Guillermo del Toro, Claudia Weill, Prano Bailey-Bond, Armando Iannucci, Gurinder Chadha, Edgar Wright, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Dea Kulumbegashvili, Alice Rohrwacher, Mike Leigh and Ben Wheatley amongst others. “I hope that you're going to see more and more different kinds of voices represented,” says Sofia Coppola in response to the latest issue. “If you look back [at who was making films in the past] it was one group of mostly men. I'm always happy to see something I haven't seen before and be surprised, so we'll see.”

Elsewhere, Steve McQueen comments in the announcement: “I don't know if cinema needs saving, but it's definitely worth saving. Personally, I adore it. I love being in a cinema with an audience. I love the oohs and the ahhs, the applause, the titters, and communal viewing? There's nothing like it.”

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound, September issue, featuring cover star Chloé Zhao. (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound, September issue, featuring cover star Luca Guadagnino. (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound, September issue, featuring cover star Sofia Coppola. (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound, September issue, featuring cover star Sofia Coppola. (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, May 1950 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1950)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1950 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1950)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1950 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1950)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1960 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1960)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1940 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1940)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1940 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1940)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1956 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1956)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1978 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1978)

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Sight and Sound: Archive Issue, 1978 (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 1978)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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Marina Willer / Pentagram: Sight and Sound redesign (Copyright © Sight and Sound, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.

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