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Pentagram Celebrates 50 Years With Monumental, 10.5-Pound Book


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B9639C06-DCF5-406D-ABDF-DDCF0FA8B795-1698830306.thumb.jpg.8f6b79faad8587da7c3ee14e2a9b5a02.jpgImage via Unit Editions

When you think of influential design powerhouses, Pentagram undeniably tops the list. The world-renowned design agency is commemorating its remarkable five-decade journey with a mammoth two-volume book. Pentagram: Living by Design reflects on the studio’s evolution from its inception in 1970s London to its current status as a global design powerhouse.

The spectacular coffee table tome features a staggering 3,500 color illustrations and over 1,400 pages, and weighs a hefty 10.5 pounds—that’s one substantial paperweight! The book, published by Unit Editions, is authored by Adrian Shaughnessy and designed by Tony Brook and his team at Spin.

Pentagram’s journey began on June 12, 1972, when it was founded in London by five visionary partners: Theo Crosby (an architect), Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes, and Mervyn Kurlansky (all graphic designers), and Kenneth Grange (an industrial designer). These luminaries were leaders in their respective fields, and they shared a belief that their collective potential could lead to exceptional work. They established a unique non-hierarchical structure that allowed each partner to maintain autonomy while fostering collaboration and resource-sharing, an innovative approach that helped secure Pentagram’s immediate success.

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Image via Unit Editions

Over five decades, Pentagram has achieved enviable longevity. It expanded its footprint with offices in New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Berlin. Crucially, it has passed the torch of leadership seamlessly across generations, a rarity in the design world. Today, each practicing partner is still a working designer, leading an independent group within the larger Pentagram ecosystem.

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Image via Unit Editions

Volume One: The Biography offers a profound analysis of Pentagram, its partners, accomplishments, multidisciplinary approach, and distinctive business model. This volume is enriched with a treasure trove of images, some never-before-published. It includes a visual essay showcasing Pentagram’s work across four primary sectors, a selection of partner writings.

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Image via Unit Editions

This collector’s edition also boasts a Pentagram partners family tree meticulously mapped out by Paula Scher.

Volume Two: The Directory presents profiles of 50 partners, both past (27) and present (23), along with extensive coverage of their work. It’s a stellar lineup, from the five pioneering founders to some of today’s most celebrated names in design. Additionally, it features a comprehensive list of everyone who has contributed to the firm’s various offices.

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Image via Unit Editions

Pentagram partner Natasha Jen tells Fast Company that the agency chose to put together a book to mark this milestone as, although it’s an age-old medium, “it’s permanent” and “physical,” further setting Pentagram’s legacy in stone.

Design aficionados can now secure their copy on Amazon. 

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