Dynamic Brand Identity: Designing Logos That Evolve | Paula Scher | Skillshare

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Dynamic Brand Identity: Designing Logos That Evolve

teacher avatar Paula Scher, Partner at Pentagram

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.

      Finding Solutions


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Stretching & Testing


    • 7.

      Public Theater


    • 8.

      Jazz at Lincoln Center


    • 9.

      Philadelphia Museum of Art


    • 10.

      Type Directors Club


    • 11.



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About This Class

Paula Scher, partner in the New York office of Pentagram, walks us through her process of creating a liquid identitya recognizable, dynamic branding system that can be adapted across mediums.

In this 70-minute class, you’ll think about researching an organization’s goals, developing a series of design solutions, simplifying them to their essence, and stretching them to their limits as they apply to animation, products, signage, architecture, and more.

Go behind-the-scenes to see how the liquid identities of some of Paula’s most respected projects came to life (including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Type Directors Club, and Microsoft Windows), explore her latest re-branding for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and join her at the Public Theater in Manhattan—her most iconic, long-standing project to date.

What You'll Learn

  • Avoiding rigid branding. Paula Scher walks us through her past work experiences that have allowed her to become the accomplished design leaders she is today. You’ll also find her list of client projects she’ll be showing throughout this class.
  • Introduction. Paula’s lesson will take you through the process of developing a fluid and complete company logo design. First, you’ll identify a nonprofit organization whose mission interests you. Then, you’ll come up with a “design kit” that includes a logo, typographic system, color palette, icons, and methodology of approach to demonstrate different parts of the organization in various media, from digital to physical spaces.
  • Research. Always start by getting to know your client. Paula will walk you through research best practices and the common reasons why organizations opt to rebrand.
  • Finding solutions. You’ll learn how to approach the initial design presentation for a client, which means synthesizing the information you get from your research into components your client can understand. Remember, design only matters if the company actually executes, so you’ll learn to present clients with a selection of branding designs, ranging from conservative to more radical.
  • Simplifying. It’s time to develop your “kit of parts.” You’ll learn that you have to keep this kit simple, because its job is to do a complex thing — represent an entire organization. Paula will explain why simplicity is key to creating a logo design for branding.
  • Stretching and testing. In expanding your branding design system, you’ll learn to look at its parts like they’re in an IQ test by asking yourself, “Which of these things doesn’t belong in this set?” Paula will teach you how to balance your ideas for a client’s branding with direct client collaboration.
  • Public theater. Paula will explain the fraught history of the New York Public Theater’s design and how she found a solution to make its branding cohesive. You’ll see how to create logos in a way that captures an organization’s ethos while also adapting to time and other variables.
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center. You’ll get some additional logo design tips through the lens of Paula’s long-term relationships with Jazz at Lincoln Center. Witness how Paula took the “meaning of jazz,” as conveyed by the Center’s director, and turned it into a font.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art. How do you rebrand something that’s widely recognized…for something other than its main function? That was the challenge Paula faced when redesigning the logo for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with its iconic stairs made famous after their appearance in the movie, ‘Rocky’. Here, Paula will take you through the process of making a logo that matches a mission statement.
  • Type Directors Club. When does a typeface become unrecognizable? Paula will answer this question in exploring her design for the Type Directors Club, which is no small deal. The Type Directors Club stands as the governing body for typography, as they represent and reward the best of today’s type design and type use. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to develop rules to define the limits of your own typeface.
  • Windows. Paula will give you a logo design tutorial for a company that owns multiple, unique products. Through her work with Windows, you’ll learn how to design logos that look like they are members of the same family, but are not identical. After all, that’s the function of a liquid brand design.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Paula Scher

Partner at Pentagram


Paula Scher is one of the world's most acclaimed graphic designers. She has been a principal in the New York office of the distinguished international design consultancy Pentagram since 1991. She began her design career as a record cover art director at Atlantic Records and CBS Records in the 1970s and 1980s.

She has designed identity and branding systems for a wide range of clients including the Public Theater, Citibank, the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Opera, the High Line, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Scher has served on the Design Commission of the City of New York since 2006. She is an established artist exhibiting worldwide, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and other institutions. She is the author of "Make It Bigger... See full profile

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1. Trailer: I believe that if you know how to design identity, you know how to design everything. I think understanding how to make things recognizable so they become instantly iconic is a skill that is just unbeatable. This is a class that I'm calling liquid identity. I don't know if it's even the right term for it. I use it to describe the kit of parts that we make to design something. If you take the notion of how identity was thought of in the Swiss International Style, there might be a mark and a logo type and maybe some other trademark issues, and they were all put together very neatly in a corner. You can't really do that today because information exists in every form of media. So, you're designing digitally. You're designing and buildings, and you have to really have something that's more fluid than that. Also, if you design an identity where a system is very rigid, it becomes boring very quickly. It means that it's likely to be overthrown because people need change. If you want something to last a long period of time, you need to have the ability for flexibility. The students will be asked to identify a not-for-profit organization. It can be a theater. It can be a political organization. It can be government. Anything that has components attached to it, meaning they do more than one thing. Find out what they do and begin to create a kit of parts, a system by which they first identify the organization and then identify the subsets of the organization. I'd like to make things. I'd like to make things, and I like to make things up. I like to see the things that I make or makeup get made. I like to see people interacting with it, and I never get tired of it, and I've done it for 45 years. I'm Paula Scher. I'm a graphic designer, a partner of Pentagram Design, and you were in my office. 2. Introduction: I started working in The Public Theater lobby for George C. Wolfe when he first hired me. At that time he hired me, the lobby was marbleized and had a lot of mirror in it that we removed and replaced with white walls and bright graphics and the colors you see here today, but they weren't permanent, they were banners that were more or less hooked up into position that got dirty over time. Finally, a year ago, this renovation opened up, it was five years in the making with the cooperation of various agencies in the city and, of course, the Director of The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, and this is actually refinement of what we did originally at a much more permanent structure. I went to Tyler School of Art from 1966 to 1970, two years I took every kind of art course, painting, printmaking, sculptures, ceramics, metalwork, and I was terrible at everything. But, when I took graphic design in my third year of school, I discovered it was about ideas and I became intrigued with it. I wanted to be an illustrator because I thought that being a graphic designer meant you had to be neat and no illustration seems sloppier, so I like that more. But, then, I discovered when I moved to New York City to be an illustrator in 1970 that I actually didn't draw that well. So, I did what everybody who can't design and can't draw it does, I became an art director, and that's actually how I began designing as an art director. What you're seeing here in the lobby is the same font that we were working with which was originally a Morgan font that now is called Knockout because it was digitized by Jonathan Hefler somewhere in the late '90s. But, originally, we actually put the type together by hand because it wasn't yet digitized. The system I developed was American wood tie in different weights that when put together created a specific recognizable spirit and used over and over again in different configurations, created the language that was The Public Theater. Pentagram is the most unusual of design organizations, is a designed business that's a place for a designer to work. It is a group of like-minded partners who are in all disciplines and designs, there are architects, product designers, digital designers, graphic designers, magazine designers. We put all our earnings in the center, we share them equally. We draw the same salary and we share a bonus in an office and we can do this because we calculate that over the long term were essentially equal. We provide different things, we have different talents, different intelligences, but everybody brings something to the table, and that's what we share. I'm going to show work that I've done and still do for The Public Theatre, which is a 20-year relationship. I'm going to talk about a brand new project I did for the Philadelphia Museum that is just launching as we speak. I'm going to talk about Jazz at Lincoln Center, which was developed in design 15 years ago and redesigned only last year and very much along the same line, so it's a continuation of a system. I'm also going to show a philosophy about how to create logos from Microsoft, which was a system that was developed based on designing the Windows logo and now is stretched across the whole company. I'm going to show a very small project that's very liquid for the type during this club. Public Theater building has these arches that we're here at the beginning of the building. What we did is inserted typography, it's actually a piece of metal, that's recessed that is then painted and inserted into the arches, so it looks like the letter forms are pushed back. I don't approach a visual identity without some thought about how it may function environmentally as well as digitally, I think that that's actually the role of the designer and to think that you're making a mark that's going to live alone without some broader context where the form is going to change, it's just not practical. So, generally when I design virtually anything, I'm thinking about how it lives in three dimensional space. So, the assignment is to identify you're not for profit organization, select an area in which you have interests that you can sustain, and then design a kit of parts that becomes your liquid identity. The kit of parts should demonstrate a logo and a watermark, a typographic system, a color palette, perhaps the use of icons or the use of photography or illustration, and a methodology of approach, and you should take the system, and you should use your system to demonstrate various aspects of the organization. You theoretically should be creating pieces in all media meaning apps, websites as well as brochures or mailers. You want to be creating public spaces, so you maybe doing the front of the building or the lobby and showing how the graphics integrate into those spaces, and the type of retour objects you make should reinforce the identity not just in their design, but in the spirit of what you select to make. 3. Research: I think if you're starting this process for the first time, or if you're starting this process for the 10th time, you're going to enjoy your work if you select something that you have some affinity for. I find, even still now, there are certain types of projects I don't take because I just don't have any interest in what they do. So, I would recommend that the student investigate those organizations that appeal to them. If you're interested in music, do a musical organization. If you're interested in politics or the environment, pick an organization that's political or environmental. There are plenty of organizations that exist for every interests. Find your passion, select it, and learn everything you can about it. The first thing I do when I begin any project is to try to get to know my client. To a degree, a designer is a little bit like a doctor. They come into a situation, and they listen to a patient's complaints. They take their book of knowledge against what else is existing in the world, and they make some diagnosis in which their client participates. You want to understand why the organization exists. You want to understand what the organization does. You want to understand how the people inside the organization define the organization. Because when you're creating an identity for a place, theoretically, it's the people internally who are creating collectively the spirit of what that place is about. They may have specific messages, they may have ways of overcoming competition, and they may have a true understanding of their position in the marketplace. Very often, there are things they miss, so that you want to find out externally how their competition is doing in relationship with them, what the perception on of them is if you have the research to do it, or if the research currently exists, or you might hire a research firm to find that out for you. It depends upon the project and where the client is with their own understanding of where they are. I find that in certain types of organizations, there is a lot of research, and a lot of soul-searching, a lot of question asking, and also a lot of indecision. I find another organizations where they seem to have very strong leadership, they actually know exactly who they are, and what they're doing, and they want to change for very specific purposes, which they will tell you. I find that organizations need to change mostly for two reasons: one is that what they have is really substandard, and they simply can't work with it, or the other reason is they're about to change something very drastically within the organization. It might be leadership. It might be that they're totally changing their spirit and internal direction. Those are really two ways that an identity needs to be redefined because they are in fact changing their identity, they're either about to fail in correcting it, or they are going in a completely different direction. Everything else is debatable. I find the most reasons organizations changes, they're responding to something bad that happened or there's a new president who's come in, who thinks its first day and they want to shake things up. Sometimes those new presidents want to shake up things maybe they shouldn't, and sometimes change is good. I will usually ask everybody who are the key decision makers, those people that have a say of identity, to design their organization in a sense, to describe their organization in a sense. They'll always say, "Does it have to be in one sense?" I'll say, "Yes", and I'll actually think about it and craft a pretty terrific sense. What's interesting is that you often find that you might ask 10 people the same question and get 10 different answers, and then you realize that you've got a problem. I like to find out what the history of the organization is, how was it founded, how did it change, what were the original principles, is there a mission statement, does everybody subscribe to the mission statement, what research was done previously. These things are incredibly important. Then, sometimes I bring some outer knowledge because I've worked in a general area, and I actually have things that I can bring to the table, that by comparison, I can raise, that get them talking about that sort of thing as well. 4. Finding Solutions: The first phase of work that would follow research is what we generally call initial design presentation. The initial design is taking the information that's been given and synthesizing it into some understandable components that a client can respond to. Now, sometimes if the organization is very big, there may be a much bigger research part of the process. That is a review of the research with the client to determine what points they find salient, which points they disagree with. But assuming that, that work is done and you're beginning to design, you would begin to design with the notion that, everything that you are making would be shown to the client for some form of revealing comment. So, that they're capable of participating as much as possible in the process. Sometimes, I come in with only one approach but that's really quite rare. Generally, what the approaches are, is setting the stage for mood differential. I might show a client something that moves them out to an outer extreme, something that's inherently conservative, and something that's more in the middle. And I have to find out the client's level of comfort with any given approach, to see where they should be positioned, and to see what risks they're capable of taking in order to make themselves understood. Sometimes, I feel that even though I would prefer riskier options, when I understand the client better, I do feel that holding back is a better approach for them because I know they're more likely to execute. I think that with identity work, the part we do which is, developing what the client should look like, only matters if it's executed. If it isn't executed, nobody ever sees it. If you design a system that a company ultimately feels uncomfortable with, they'll never make it. So, it's a failure. I've often said that, if you try to get an organization to change, and you want them to be the only one at a party in a red dress when everybody else is wearing black, they're going to go home and change. If you get them to wear a red belt, you may actually have moved them. Starting design process is always difficult. Everybody is different, people have different rhythms. Some people have to procrastinate as long as possible, and then somehow can forge brilliant solution. Some people make millions of sketches to see what's right, some people have an aha moment where they suddenly put things together. I usually work by making associations both mentally and in a sketchbook that happened intuitively, and what they are, are odd bits of information. There is not a right or wrong way to come up with ideas. The point is to have the appropriate fodder that's going to generate the idea. If you haven't done the research properly, you don't have any basis for forming any opinion. What design is, is essentially planning an opinion. So, the plan is your schematic thinking about how you're going to design a system that makes all things recognizable. And the intuitive part is your opinion, the thing where you decide, I want it to look like this because it gives this place this personality. So, you're combining systemization with a form of intuitive spirit. Now, if we just did pure systemization, there's no reason everything should just be helvetica. 5. Simplifying: When you're creating an identity, is important to develop this kit of parts. The kit of parts may be a variety of things: It may be the logo design itself, a trademark, it may be a movable system of trademarks, it may be a color system, it may be a photographs, or illustrations, or icons, they are things that are used collectively to make something recognizable. They do things like separate departments from one another, or they may be used for specific types of advertising, or they may be used as a way to be a navigation system either through a place on an app or on a website, or in print media, or they may become a signage system. But they're things that you're using over and over to define a place. Now, I have to tell you that identity systems are very rarely executed by the same person. The fact that I did the Public Theatre for 20 years is really, really unusual. Mostly, you design a template or a system and it goes to an in-house art department who then executes it, or an outside advertising agency. You write manuals and guide books about how to work with it, and invariably, the manuals and guide books don't really work. It relies on the talent and the ingenuity of the in-house people against the politics of what they're doing. So over a period of time, it's not unreasonable that these things start to fall apart. Because they become different directors who were dealing with it, different art directors who were dealing with it, different staffs who were dealing with it, sometimes outside agencies that are dealing with it, and they begin to change it, and it loses it's spirit. It's very important when you're designing an identity, to try to keep the identity simple, because it has to do complicated things. If you create a logo system that is very ornate, it's going to be difficult to extend because when you couple things with it, it will become so busy that it won't be able to do it's job properly. Sometimes, students are confused when they see a really well-functioning identity system because they think that the designer didn't do enough. Oh, it's just a line of type, oh, it's just a box, oh, it's just a circle. But the fact of the matter is these things move and progress, and do all kinds of complicated things that convey all sorts of intricate inflammation. If it was more complex than that it would never be able to function 6. Stretching & Testing: The kit of parts is essentially your graphic language. You're taking that graphic language and you're using it as an identifier, you're using it as a vehicle to convey information, you're using it as a vehicle to convey spirit and you're also extending its silicon glow and last over a very long period of time. Sometimes you may identify a logo type, a type system, a color system, a forum system and you may begin to assign uses for it. You may find there's a point where it becomes unrecognizable as the same system and then you narrow the framework. You find that you may be doing something and it works beautifully for one year, and then the second year, you're tired of it, and you need to refresh it or you need to change it or you need to grow it. These things to a degree are trial and error. They're not an exact science. But you will know, if you put down a group of things on the table and look at them collectively and you have something that you've developed and it doesn't look like part of the system, you know initially that's not going to work and you stop there. Looking at a kit of parts is very much like an IQ test. If you remember back with fundamental IQ testing I think it's for something like quantitative reasoning, there'll be a question to say, which one of these things don't belong in this set? That's what's wrong with stretching an identity too far, it's the one that doesn't look like it, it looks like it doesn't belong in the set. Often when you're developing an identity system, you are on a direction that seems to make sense and you begin testing it and that you find it goes only so far and then it begins to fail you. You can only discover this by doing and very often you go back and refine, and you find that you can make an addition to it or a subtle change to it and it makes the system far more extendable. I found usually that I've either integrated a component that actually doesn't fit properly or that I have over-designed a couple of my components so they don't extend well, then that's simplification works. There are two basic problems in setting up a system when you're trying to extend it. One is if you extend it too far and it becomes unrecognizable, you have to go back and re-approach it to make sure that, collectively, it is recognizable. However, if you're anticipating growth or something that you may recognize in five years after you've developed it, you have to determine how you're going to be able to present that to your core group, because something that may be a logical extension of it, that could work in the future, may be too scary to the inherent group you're going to show it to. So, sometimes you feel you may have extended something too far to show the group, but, in fact, the thing you may have invented maybe good for five years down the road when everybody's accepting of the system. So, you have to know what you want to hold onto and keep in your back pocket and what you're making for the immediate purpose of presentation to get a group to understand what a system does. When you're designing an identity and you're showing it to your clients, you're doing two things. You're including them and collaborating with them and making sure that their information is being appropriately translated into something that's visually understandable. But what you're really doing, if you're doing this right, is you're teaching them how to see, because they're not trained to see, that's not what they do, that's what you do. So, when you present them with something and you try to demonstrate to them how it's going to work, you're deconstructing your work and presenting it in such a way that they begin to understand how they've created a visual statement. The idea that they should understand it, if you do it right, is not reasonable, because they're not trained to and you are. You have to accept that you have knowledge and ability to see things that they can't. If you can't get them to see what you've designed and get them to understand it, then you haven't presented it right. 7. Public Theater: The Public Theater was founded by Joseph Papp in 1968. He saved the Astor Library in New York City and moved a theater downtown where he launched in 1972, notable plays like a chorus line, launched the careers of important playwrights like Tony Kushner and the careers of terrific actors and actresses like Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and a score of famous people who come out of the Public Theater ever since. He started doing this by having Shakespeare plays performed for free, first on the truck that drove around New York City and then later in Central Park. All of New York came to the Park in the summer to see two free Shakespeare plays, and this has gone on since the '70s. By 1994, the Public Theater became confused publicly in people's minds with educational organizations. For example, there were a series of famous posters that were done by a poster artist named Paul Davis, who made iconic images for the Public Theater in the '70s. But by the late '80s, while he still did the Public Theater also did posters for Masterpiece Theater which was public television. So, people confuse the Public Theater with Public Television and thought, if you go to the theater, it's just being an educational place, it's not going to be entertaining. In 1994, a new director took over, Joe Papp had died previously about four years earlier and there was a sort of an interim director and the theater did not do very well. A new director came in to sort of re-invent and re-introduce to the public what the Public Theater was all about. This director was named George Wolfe and he wanted to do something that felt very inclusive, very New York, very loud and very populist. He wanted people to understand that while the theater launched all kinds of important careers of writers and directors and people who designed sets and all types of creativity that the theater was for the public to attend. The theater had a problem. Some people called it the Shakespeare festival because there were Shakespeare in the park. Some people called it the Joseph Papp theater, and some people called it the Shakespeare Festival, but nobody called it the Public. So, therefore, the identity problem was clear, is that nobody knew what the place was called, where it was or what it was supposed to look like. That's why an identity system has to be designed. When I began designing the Public Theater logo, I wanted to create a language that felt like a street language, something that would be based on The Spirit of New York City. This is my first sketch for the way I saw a season for the public and that point in time I drew everything by hand because we didn't do anything on the computer and this is the piece of tracing paper that I drew the first identity system on it. It was off a typog I had. I knew with the names of the plays were for the season, so I thought if I designed a logo for the public that took a font and reused it from thick to thin that it would be instantly recognizable, but that all the faces that were used in creating the public could then be used in the advertisements. So, if there was a play that had a long name like Simpatico, that would be the long skinny type and if there was a play with a short name like Blade or Blade to the Heat, I'd use a fatter type and that this became collectively the basis for doing the Public Theater. I thought the word public would be big and prominent, so people would understand what the place was. This is a series of the first ads we did for the public and these were all designed in 1994, using the system. You began to recognize the public first and then what the place were. Inside the Public Theater were a series of small spaces and the little round tokens were small logos for each of those theaters that we attached to the name of the play, so you knew where it was playing inside the public. Actually, the audiences never found that convincing. Nobody knew what tokens meant and we gradually abandoned them. Here's a tissue using the same system. It's very close to my sketch. The notion of using big words and pulling them up at a scale became very much part of the Public Theater's language previously for theater advertisement so there would be sort of cute taglines like it would say something like, oh, the Public Theater, a great place to go for the whole family or some such thing like that. I thought why bother with that? If you want people to join the Public Theater, just say join. You don't have to insult them with of cute little lines. We made posters that were play based and the posters that were play based use the Public Theater typography against an image from the play. This is a picture of Jennifer Lewis, who had a one woman show who stood up on the stage and screamed and that's why the poster is designed that way. Later, we found that we were not capable of buying enough advertisements to support the individual images of these plays and we began designing things more collectively and I'll show you how that materialized as we go through this. In the first two or three years, all of the posters were play specific. They all use Public Theater typography combined with images that were indicative of the plays. This was about Elvis Presley. This was another one man's stand up performance by an artist named Danny Hoch. This was a star studded play written by Sam Shepard, where nobody could get top billing. So, the only solution to it was to make the typos eligible as possible. These were posters for the two plays of Shakespeare in the park. What was important with these plays each summer is that you identified it as public theater typography with a big public theater logo. So people stopped calling it the Shakespeare Festival and started calling it the Public. It took 10 years to actually achieve that. In 1995 and 1996, the Public Theater launched a play called Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, that was a smash hit and went to Broadway. There were probably 20 or so different posters for this show which we did which were all designed off of the typographic system for the Public Theater. It was a top Rap musical, and the type looked like it was making noise. But this is a show that actually never had its own logo, it only had Public Theater Typography, and yet audiences could begin to identify it, because they recognized the type as a system, and that's when I knew that the liquid identity had worked. The Public Theater logo over 20 years was redrawn three times. The first logo was the American wood type, the actual form that was rubbed down and we xeroxed. Then, I had an early typographer digitize it for me so we could use it in the computer. In 1999, a new director came on, George Wolfe left and I slightly modified the logo for the 50th anniversary, and to make it easier to work with at that time because the Morgan type was not yet digitized, I used it as accidents grotesque. Here, wood type is redrawn to be another typeface altogether, but because the thick and thins of the Public Theater logo, you always recognized it as the same logo. Most people don't realize we redid it three times. The third one is simply the typeface champion, and all its weights as redrawn by Jonathan Hackler. But this thing went through three variations, and nobody could ever tell the difference. After we changed the typeface to champion in 2002 when Arc Oskar Eustis fully assumed the directorship of the Public Theater, we found that we couldn't do individual plays because it was too expensive to make the posters. Now, there was an inherent danger with developing this kind of system. The inherent danger in this system where you do something which it's much more collectivised and it looks the same is that it becomes repetitious and over a couple of years can be fairly boring. So, we had to reinvent it again and figure out another way to work with it without changing it and this goes to the testament of how much what I would call Legs have to do with this liquid identity. This identity because the typeface is recognizable and used so repeatedly, you can change color and scale with it and create the same spirit that you would recognize. Here, it is still being extended in the black and white form. Then we made a decision to change it each season, and make it go to color. These were all the posters that were done purely in the black and white version for about three or four years. Then, we went to color. When we went to color, it opened up possibility. After we went through one season of color, we decided what would happen if we changed it, kept the same font, and changed it to upper and lower case? So, that became another variable in the system and we did that for a year. I think these were about 2009. This is 2011. Here, we did the Shakespeare in the park. It was sort of shocking because it was a modernist design, with complicated typography and diagrams. This green that was very shocking for the public because we've been doing this very black and whitish sort of look for a period of time. This summer it's totally different, we change it every year but we hold onto the components. The components is the Public Theater is always in the same font, in the same place, with a period next to it, but the place can change on various posters depending upon how the image is designed and the type is always champion and it's always bold. So, as you can see this kit of parts is an extension of the original public kit of parts but it's for one season that's extended for that season and dropped and then next season you go to another one. The public in New York City is used to it so they look for the next one each year. This was last year's. Last year we did everything in red and blue and all the components were designed as one system and here they are as a folding Maler. The posters that were in front of the building. Here the posters in front of the building and that's last year's system we've just completed this year system and it will be going to press. Then as time rolled along and we're in 2013 and for the first time ever, web typography is developed so you can actually use champion on a website. So, the website gets extended to be in the public theater's typeface and a very movable system. This has just launched this past year and I could not have done this 10 years ago. Two years ago we began redesigning the public theater lobby and the public theater lobby contains the public theater typography, in Tap Public Theater form, the owning demonstrates the logo in glass and you look up at its flags and you go into the lobby and the desk has the Public Theater logo, the posters are contained behind walls and all the type is etched into the building. In the center of the lobby we Commission Ben Rubin who is a digital designer to create moving blades with type that is digitized and championed that each blade has a different Shakespeare play. The type is incised into the walls with a depth of about an inch and a half and is deliberately in pure Public Theater color system which was the original black, white, and red. The lobby is black, white, red, and grey and that's because that goes back to the original system because the Public Theater has not changed its identity, it's only extended it. Type going around arches, being Incised. A donors wall where donors names are all set in the same champion font, in different weights. Bricks come out of the wall depending upon how much money you gave. But, every time something is added to this it goes back to the original intent of the system. So, as a way finding it uses the same structure. Doors which create credit donors are designed in the same manner and behind the desk are the history of the posters, one swipe-stumped over the other. 8. Jazz at Lincoln Center: So, I designed Jazz and Lincoln Center in the year 2000 and they were moving into a new headquarters. It might have been 2000, it might have been 1999, hard for me to remember. I met with everybody, the board of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Wynton Marsalis it's genius director, and I asked him what Jazz meant to him? He said jazz is syncopation. I didn't know what the term syncopation meant. I said, "What is syncopation?" He says, "It's when you got a bunch of things in a row and one thing is off," and of course that is what jazz is. Instead of being consistent, you throw a strange component into it and then it reinvents what it is you're looking at. But when he said that to me, he actually gave me the logo, and he also said that jazz musicians were sort of like square pegs in round holes. They push against something. So, the idea I had for Jazz at Lincoln Center was to have these four pieces of typography together, but the a was filled in and that was the syncopation with the one thing being off. It had a bad name because jazz is big and recognizable and at Lincoln Center is just an address. But it had to be expressed because this is the way the public in New York City originally understood the institution. Now, Jazz at Lincoln Center, actually used to be at Lincoln Center but it's moved down to the Time Warner Building which isn't technically Lincoln Center, so the name doesn't make any sense at all. But because it moved, you couldn't call a Jazz because people will wonder what happened to Jazz at Lincoln Center. So, it had a complicated name. You'll find much of identity has to do with what the damn thing is called in the first place. So, I had actually presented this initial identity as black and white and the square peg in a round hole is the square peg in the a. I presented this to the board of directors and the board of directors thought it needed color. I didn't. I thought it was actually stronger as black and white, but I couldn't really persuade them. So, we said, "All right, let's make the a and color," and I showed them lots of colors for the a. I think my favorite was an orange, but the director liked blue. So, it became blue, and very often a design decision is made that way. I don't mind this because my view is if you design a form and it works well in black and white, it actually works in any color. The rest of the board was annoyed because they didn't understand why the Chairman of the board got to have her blue a, when they would all like different color a's. So, we actually allow the a to change color and signage so everybody could own an a. This was the original stationary and then we used a typeface and part of the system was designing everything so it either had a circle or a square contained in it in some capacity. It was launched 2003, this is the first season of it. Then we allowed the circles and the squares to be rounded and capacities, and we began designing posters with it and a variety of different art directors took it over a period of time and it began to evolve over about a 12-year period and there were about five different art directors who worked with the site identity system. I'm showing you the best work that was done over the years with Jazz, but a lot of it did not hold up. On the building, the logo was attached to an awning where it changed color and we made artwork out of circles and squares. All the various images that were attached to the theatre were initially made out of circles and squares from the logo. The logo was affixed to the elevator. It became donor signage as circles. Signage inside the place, more murals made out of circles and squares. Then in 2014, I was asked to come back and revisit it after designing it nearly 10 or 15 years earlier. It was interesting what makes something dead and what can sort of reinvigorate it. The old logo, had a Lincoln Center at it which was always a little bit strange and made it look a little fussy. The new logo, got rid of Lincoln Center. They could finally own Jazz. They were famous enough to be called Jazz. We have heated up because it looked very lightweight in relationship to the other logo which was thinner because it had a handle. The at Lincoln Center sticking out as an angles. So, you see the subtle difference between the two. The second one being heavier and weighty and having more presence. Also, the circular a, because of the x-height was increased, the circular a became bigger. We then created an alphabet out of it because we thought it would be great if this thing actually was its own font. So, when you used it, you could recognize Jazz at Lincoln Center without actually saying it. So, we drew it as a typeface and it's called Jelly Roll named after Jelly Roll Morton. A type designer named, Jeremy Michael, digitized it for us. We drew the first alphabet here at Pentegram and then we sent it to Jeremy to correct and fix and digitize. It now has different weights and taps and italics and it's a complete font. But what's wonderful about it is when you set an artist's name in this font, you know that artist is playing a Jazz, and that means that Jazz owns these artists and these artists are part of Jazz. So, it became a natural way of doing a campaign, and this is another institution where they've collectivized their artists in relationship to the place so that Jazz as a place, endorses an artists. So if you're a new Jazz musician and you get to play a Jazz at Lincoln Center, you get prestige and endorsement just by virtue of the fact that your name is set in Jazz at Lincoln Center type, is like making everybody have a logo. Here is the final digitization and how you use the circles with it. Here is the advertising campaign that launched last year using the new system. What's wonderful is that when it says Jazz, you know where this is and when it doesn't say Jazz, you know where it is because the look of the typography is that strong. Sometimes it's used in small form, sometimes it is blocks of text and every form of communication they have and it becomes very recognizable and very liquid at the same time. They can use different weights of this, different colors with this, and they can evolve it and grow it every season. It has an excellent in-house art department, that's doing a wonderful job with it who designed most of these posters and for me, that's really the measure of how good an identity system is. It's not what you can do with it yourself is what is somebody else going to do with it. 9. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Philadelphia Museum of Art has one of the best art collections in America. It's a giant museum that sits on top of the hill and is famous because those are the steps that Rocky ran up in the movie Rocky. And more people have seen the movie Rocky than I've ever been inside the Philadelphia Museum and in fact, many people run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum like the movie Rocky and never go inside. So this is sad because it means Americans are missing some of the best art in the world and what the Philadelphia Museum wanted to do was find a way to open itself up to a public that sees it but doesn't know what it is. So they went through a period of soul searching and branding exercises to discover who they are and what their mission was and what the Philadelphia Museum was, and what they said this museum should be is a place that actually leads people to art. And this is their current logo that is about to change. Where they had a griffin that was on the building that they used as a mark and then they had the word Philadelphia Museum tracked out in all caps. There's nothing wrong with this design. It's actually a very handsome design and I put it on everything. However, if you examine their mission and their stated purpose, what this logo looks like is it looks somewhat academic. It's got something that comes from Greek or Roman mythology against a lot of complicated tract out type because Philadelphia is a really long name, and Museum of Art is a really long name. From a distance, you can't read it. So if it's on a building, you don't even know what the building is. This is a problem. Also in the city of Philadelphia, nobody calls it the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They call it The Art Museum because it's their big art museum that sits up on a hill. And where are you going? I'm going to The Art Museum. Now it was very complicated for this museum to be able to change its name but it could change its emphasis. So that if you look at this logo which as I said I would not criticize as a piece of graphic design but only in terms of the kind of message it puts forward because it does make you stand away from it a bit, That it doesn't really go to what the museum needs to do which is taking art to the people and leading people to the art. Now the art in the museum is vast. It has pre-renaissance art, it has art that was from ancient Chinese and Japanese dynasties, It has an incredible collection of American Art, incredible collection of modern art and it's expanding its galleries to very contemporary art and there's a new addition being built by Frank Gehry That is in addition at all, it's actually tunneling under the museum and building new space with a skylight not through the plaza. So you can house all the contemporary exhibits and we are announcing this July and it's a process that will probably take about 10 years to build. But it's all part of opening up this museum to the public. So it takes art to the people and it leads people to the art. So, knowing that we had a big long complicated name, that we couldn't change it to Art Museum, we had to find a way to emphasize how it was taking art to the people and leading people to the art. How would you recognize this museum if there was a sign that designated here is the Philadelphia Museum of Art? And it seemed that the key to it is really in the world art. So it was a matter of emphasis. So we designed a logo that took the typeface they currently had which is a face called Avenir, and the reason we use the same face was because throughout this enormous building, they already have a huge amount of signage that said in this type. So if you changed it, it would mean you'd have to change all the signage in the museum. That's not very fair to the museum and there's nothing really wrong with Avenir. But by redrawing it and reconstituting it in this manner, you've changed the emphasis of the logo entirely. We made a horizontal and a vertical version because sometimes there's horizontal and vertical use. We then gave them a very simple basis for attaching it to things like business cards and stationery and press kits and brochures and all types of merchandising material. And this is the sort of thing we showed in our very first phase is how do you take these words and extend it so it becomes everything you needed to do in the institution. We did things where we showed them how you could make the A a different color and attach it to something. This is the beginning of the kit of parts, how it might sit on a Web site. How does this thing become recognizable? We thought the system worked well and that you absolutely knew it was an art museum the minute you saw the logo but that the logo could actually tell a bigger story by designating the breadth of what's in the museum. So we said what would happen if you took the A from Art and you enabled it to talk about all the kinds of art in the museum. We designed this moving A that can be made of all kinds of piece of artwork because you can recognize the word art and you can see potential of what may be in the museum or it may be able to designate certain exhibits. So, here's a little animated demonstration about how the A actually works and we're actually going to be using this and their digital communications. But instantly by looking at it, you get to the conclusion that there's a lot of different kind of art in this place and there's a lot to see and a lot to appreciate and it may be a lot of fun and it really sets the right spirit for what this place has to be. And spirit is very important. It's important to understand what looks like fun and what looks like work. And the difference between this logo treatment and the one that existed is not a matter of whether the typeface is different or the handling of the weight of the face, it's about the emphasis of the spirit. One looks academic and the other looks more playful and that's just the heart of the difference. That's what has to happen. So then we took these extended As and we began to apply them and we've drawn about 300 days for the museum to use on various components. Now this is tricky because in launching the identity, what happens is every curator and everybody in their family wants to use a different A immediately because "Oh I want my As". But that's dangerous because you create a form of anarchy. So currently, what we're doing is figuring out when the A actually gets used in writing a rule guide to it. So we may use it on special exhibits. But say not on corporate stationery which should be institutional stationery which would be very held back because of the form of communication it is. So as we set these As up, we say "Okay they can be on outter things like tickets". So here's a series of A's on tickets. So every time you come to a museum, you may get a different A, or it may be on the pins that you wear when you go into the museum. And this becomes a logical place because it's like a present. It may be used in retail situations. But when you get to those things that are existing brochures about the museum they come out in repetition and exists in the lobby, we become much more formal about it, we change the color of the A but we don't use the decorative A. However, for Frank Gehry show which is opening really in early July. We got Frank Gehry to draw us an A and so it's the first day to launch the system and this is a picture of the museum being opened up and it's about Frank Gehry's renovation and this is a redesigned calendar that's going out in the mail as we speak. 10. Type Directors Club: I started with a 20-year program, and this gets you down to about the smallest form of an identity, which is a sub-component of something that exists by itself for a brief period of time, and then goes away. These things I think are tremendously fun to design because there's less at stake, and because they're over fast, they don't have to do the hard job of the Windows project, or the public theatre. But what's terrific about them is that they're wonderful opportunities, to figure out what's recognizable. What will the public recognize? I use this particular project as an ability to experiment. I'd seen this really terrific graffiti art by an artist on the West Coast named Barry McGee. He had done a series of paintings that were these dumb boxes in repetition, and I fell in love with them. I just thought they were graphic and powerful. These are two of his paintings. In looking at it, I realized it would be fantastic as topography. I thought I could probably take these things, and extend them into a 100 TDCs, and we can vary the width of the striping. But if I kept them in one color system like this, it would always be recognizable. So, we began drawing them, and the question was, how many of them could you make? How could the different outside bars be thick and thin? At what point wouldn't you recognize them anymore? You can make it very thin and very thick. Now if you're seeing these things in repetition, they seem like one thing even though they're absolutely not the same form. Even though the bars are drawn in different weights, it's because of the silliness and the obsessiveness of one color, against this notion of repetition of line. That in itself is a liquid identity. It could go on forever. So none of these repeat, none of them have the same weights. But there was a moment where they got too thin or too fat, and you didn't recognize it as TDC anymore. We even changed the format but then still became recognizable. Here's an animation of it. Here so you see them together and moving. Now, I could make it blue, and it would be recognizable if they were all blue, but it would start to be strange if they all began changing colors. They get different from each other. A couple of these, we did as pure thin lines, and when there was too much wide in it, you stopped recognizing it. There were others that got too filled up with red and you began not recognizing them. You can't recognize curves with it if you started to make the type curvy, it doesn't work. The lines have to be straight. So, there are actually rules that are definable about what makes this kit-of-parts work. But yet if you kept all the letter forms geometric, if they all had a certain concentric outer and inner lines of a specific thickness that didn't get too thick or too thin, in fact was recognizable. So here it is on a website, here it is again on another website. Here it is as promotions, these were little newspaper ads and little little banners that existed in web advertising, and they really work. This is the cover of the book it's still hanging around, and it's a little system, it's only out for one year but it was infinitely recognizable. 11. Windows: Microsoft has lots of various businesses that are part of its conglomerate, and the businesses are diverse, different products are made there, each business has a president and they are separate from each other under a Microsoft umbrella. They hired me in 2012 to help them create an identity for Windows because they were about to launch Windows 8. But really the reason they were hiring me was not to create the Windows logo, but to create something they were calling internally a principle based identity system. I never use this term but it's a good way to describe this work. It's the notion that they would be able to design identities for all their businesses that would in some way relate to each other but not be identical. So that would be the principle. That it's not just developing the kit of parts in the system but a way of thinking about how the logo should be designed. I guess this is the ultimate liquid identity because all of these places are different. Now, if you look at what Microsoft had, they have lots of logos that only relate to each other in the fact that they're quite complicated and a lot of them have gradations. These logos tell you a lot about the organization. If you compare Microsoft's identity structure to Apple's, at Apple they have one logo, they use black and white, they use black and white photography and they name everything the same way. You can have an iPad, an iPhone, whatever they're all one system. At Microsoft the company is not monolithic like Apple it's a structured in a very diverse manner and this was the difference between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Bill Gates believes that engineers were more creative if they could have a lot of control of their areas and they would develop an innovate in the software system, and in fact it really worked for Microsoft and worked for a very long time. But what happened was that all the engineers that controlled each of these areas were not really marketing directors and they would invent a new logo for whatever was going on and they look for things that they thought had lots of personality or may have looked like record covers or some such thing. None of the various products related to each other if you line them backup, hence they have something that looks like this system here which is in the system. So, as years go by and the company grows up, they find that they need to get the credit for each company. In other words, Microsoft makes Windows but it also makes Xbox. Why would somebody not know that Microsoft makes both products? That's really a failure in marketing and advertising because both products are behemoths and Microsoft should get credit the both. So that designing an identity that's understandable to the public is very, very necessary for very large corporations just the way it is for small companies and institutions. It's the way you get understood. So, my job was to figure out what's the way to unite these diverse things? A logical thing to do would be to try to take the logos as they exist and draw them in the same style, but it actually isn't enough to create a basis for thinking about the logos that would be designed in the future. I started by examining the Windows logo. Now Windows had made a piece of software that was very flat, very much based on Classic International Style graphic design and really had very little to do with this Windows mark. I couldn't figure out this Windows Mark when I saw it because it broke the windows into four different colored panes that under a further investigation I found out that the four colors didn't mean anything, they didn't represent different parts of Windows hierarchy, they didn't represent different divisions the things you would expect it to represent it didn't. Then there were some things that were very strangely stylistic about the logo. I looked at the history of all the Windows logos and I found out that the first logo was just a window it was flat. Then the window started bit mapping, so it represented digitization which looked very extreme in the 90s and silly now. I looked at this logo and it looks like the window is bent, it has dimension. So those are pretty thick panes on that window, and why is it waving like a flag? It seemed like a very strange thing. I mean their name is Windows, why are they a flag? Then I realized that probably it was originally designed as a flat window but somebody in the meeting said well it looks like it doesn't have any motion it looks to static because that's the comments people make when they're looking at a logo they think, why is that just lying there on a piece of paper? Well it's because it's lying there on a piece of paper it's not an animation. What's different now between the time this logo is designed is that nothing on a computer is static, everything can always be in motion. So there's no reason to draw something that's moving when you can actually make it move. So this seems silly. So the other thing I tried to understand was okay, I understand why they made it look like it was in motion but why not head-on? Why is it tilted this funny way with drop shadows? I thought what they meant was really this. That what they meant this thing to be was a window in perspective but they got obsessed with curving it so it lost its perspective. It dawned on me when I was looking at this Windows logo and just trying to find out the future of what this thing could be against its past, it dawned on me that all of Microsoft's products were essentially different from Apple in that they made tools by which an individual develops themselves. Where Apple makes objects of desire. In fact, Microsoft software is bundled into most Apple products and most people don't think about it. So designers who work with Macs don't realize that half the time when there getting out PowerPoint or setting up Excel there working with Microsoft, they think they've got an Apple product, it's actually the casing that's Apple. So, it seemed that they really could own perspective as a rallying cry to what they were about and that it was also a very nice definable way for them to think about how to create their logos. So, I had to demonstrate to them why they didn't have to make a logo that looked like it was in motion because it would be in motion. We did a little lecture on math and on perspective and perspective drawing, and I took them back to an old perspective chart. If you draw a perspective on the computer, it actually doesn't look like perspective it looks like it's extended. Because that's the way the computer creates perspective but if you do it in drawing style prospective somehow seems pure because it's based on the square. We reasoned that the center of the square was in fact the Microsoft logo and that all products emanated from the square. So that the Windows logo would come from the central point and the access to the windows bars would be drawn against the perspective chart, really a square that was shown in perspective, which is what made the logo and because it moves on the screen you don't have to worry this is a Windows logo. That's a Windows logo, there all Windows logos. That you can see through it, that they would be able to design advertising through it, it is Windows. That you can see images through it, then you create ads with it etc. This is a basis for how they began to develop their imaging. This is the system and this is what we sold them, and we gave them the chart, we left and other agencies over a period of time put it on products and designed other icons right off the system. These are Microsoft businesses. So that's how a liquid identity works and that's how a principle based identity works.