News / Graphic Design

Michael Bierut designs new identity for The Skirball Center inspired by zines and handmade flyers

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Pentagram’s Michael Bierut has designed a new typographically driven identity for The Skirball Center for Performing Arts at New York University. Situated in NYU’s campus, the cultural centre hosts dance, theatre, music film and performance art; the identity’s design direction “reflects the intellectual counterculture traditions in the historically Bohemian Village,” Pentagram explains.

The new identity for The Skirball Center also welcomes the venue’s new senior director, Jay Wegman, who envisions the centre "as a place ’where uptown meets downtown,’ that serves both the NYU community and New York at large, and makes the most of NYU’s global connections to present adventurous programming from around the world,” says Pentagram.

Taking note of the mix between uptown and downtown the Manhattan-based venue inhabits, Michael Bierut’s team at Pentagram and art director Naomi Abel “mined the rich graphic heritage of downtown New York — gig posters, zines, handmade flyers — to evoke the days when Washington Square was the providing ground for a revolutionary American avant-garde.”

The identity uses two weights of New York-based foundry Commercial Type’s Druk, “selected for their audacious personality,” explains Pentagram. The attention grabbing branding is also presented boldly across NYU’s campus “with a bit of downtown anarchy,” an approach which continues throughout The Skirball Centre’s printed ephemera, including the season brochure, printed on an “impromptu", zine-like newsprint.” 

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center

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Pentagram: The Skirball Center