Graphic Life brings together Pentagram partner Michael Gericke’s four decades of visionary work
Having joined Pentagram in 1985, Michael Gericke has become one of its most well-known designers and partners. His new book Graphic Life revisits many of his celebrated projects and reveals some never before seen ones.
- Daniel Milroy Maher
- 2 July 2021
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
“Every design he does so closely connects to something about its subject that you feel as if all Gericke has ever been trying to do is to coax forth the true nature of a place or a thing and understand its aspirations, and then present them with grace,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic and educator Paul Goldberger in the introduction to Graphic Life, a new book on the work of renowned graphic designer and Pentagram partner Michael Gericke. Spanning more than 125 projects over 520 pages, this monograph brings together Gericke’s many valuable contributions to the world of contemporary design.
Prefaced by legendary architect and Gericke’s long-time collaborator Moshe Safdie, Graphic Life looks at Gericke’s iconic work for organisations, events, and buildings such as the Big Ten, the FIFA World Cup, the Skyscraper Museum, New York’s AirTrain, One World Trade Centre, MIT, and Guggenheim’s new museum in Abu Dhabi, among others. Another highlight is his celebrated graphic work for AIA (American Institute of Architects) New York and the Centre for Architecture, which has always successfully sought to capture the city’s rich design culture. Other featured work includes a whole host of exhibitions, posters, publications, and visual identities.
The book itself contains over four decades of Gericke's diverse portfolio and categorises the many projects by disciplines, covering both three and two-dimensional work. The four main sections of the book – places, images, stories, and symbols – touch on the cornerstones of his creative practice, showing how he approaches environmental graphics for destinations; image-making for posters, books, and campaigns; storytelling and spatial design for exhibitions; and iconography. The final section, Recording Time, explores Gericke's interest in photography and, fittingly, ends with his personal documentation of Pentagram’s biannual Partner retreats – a tribute to an organisation that he has been a part of for more than 30 years.
What ties together all of the work in the pages of this sizeable publication is Gericke's constant desire to communicate spirit and character. His work never falls victim to style over substance and is instead a perfect union of the two. His search for meaning is frequently fruitful and with great elegance he manages to distill complex narrative into beautiful design that is always uniquely his own. As Safdie writes in the foreword “If I had to choose a single word to describe Michael’s work, I would say essence; Michael is the master at discovering the essence of whatever he is engaged in doing.”
Graphic Life is published by Images Publishing.
Michael Gericke, Graphic Life: (Copyright © Michael Gericke / Images Publishing, 2021)
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.