Pentagram’s New Brand Identity For The World’s Largest Library Divides Designers
By Yoon Sann Wong, 24 Aug 2018
Old logo (left) via Wikipedia, new brand identity (right) via Pentagram
Pentagram Design recently shared its dynamic brand identity for Library of Congress—the world’s largest library—created by Pentagram’s first female principal Paula Scher.
The vibrant sans-serif logotype, which resembles a bookshelf or bookcase—“a place to collect things”—can be “shifted” around to carry various graphics and typography, shown directly below. It replaces its predecessor made by Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv in 2010—a blue open book with stripes representing those seen inside the US flag, along with the Library’s name in serifs, indicated on the left within the main image above.
Image via Pentagram
Image via Pentagram
The unveiling has garnered starkly contrasting responses from designers. While the overall design system seems to be reaping generally positive feedback, certain elements have generated critique, particularly its “library library” wording that is said to have missed the mark.
Davar Azarbeygui, creative director of Inhouse Design, called the design system “absolutely beautiful & intelligent,” while art director Bryan Talbot applauded the idea, “There’s things I like here and some not so much. But the idea I love.”
Creative director Von Glitschka penned his take on Twitter, “Pentagram craps out another yawner rebrand. Waffle House level aesthetic, yet they probably banked on this project big time.”
Graphic artist Brandon Moore seemed to agree, “[W]ell that’s incredibly disappointing isn’t it? that beautiful, witty, iconic logo was designed in 2010 by Chermayeff, and now replaced by a lame, Brutalist wordmark from Pentagram. it speaks volumes about where we’re at today.”
See more highlights of the feedback below and browse the full design system on Pentagram.
There’s things I like here and some not so much. But the idea I love.— Bryan Talbot (@DesignsByTalbot) August 21, 2018
beautiful and simple— Laura Sauter (@agencybel) August 22, 2018
brilliant!— Barbara Shimasaki (@BARBSHIM) August 21, 2018
Pentagram craps out another yawner rebrand. Waffle House level aesthetic, yet they probably banked on this project big time. https://t.co/UpGHap4Ljg #craptacular #designliebrary pic.twitter.com/Bfk5gFBz9l— Von Glitschka (@Vonster) August 23, 2018
The person calling the shots at the Library Library is to blame here for accepting this.— Aaron Masik (@MASIK8) August 23, 2018
Our tax dollars hard at work. Not sure what’s going on at Pentagram lately, but it’s been underwhelming.— Jason Frostholm (@jfrostholm) August 24, 2018
Wow...😐 Someone put in some overtime on that one. pic.twitter.com/bpDLiVFjKO— Daniel Todd Wiggins (@SmilesLiesFires) August 23, 2018
well that's incredibly disappointing isn't it? that beautiful, witty, iconic logo was designed in 2010 by Chermayeff, and now replaced by a lame, Brutalist wordmark from Pentagram. it speaks volumes about where we're at today pic.twitter.com/E9Flif6yN8— Brandon Moore (@BMooreCreativ) August 22, 2018
no, i dont see anything there that suggest there ever was a need, or what was not working with the previous, it only explains what the LOC is. i agree with Armin, the emphasis on "library" doesn't make sense— this is a specific, special library which the old logo represented well— Brandon Moore (@BMooreCreativ) August 22, 2018
yes, its a nice idea for a system but theres so many misses in the execution (“library library”, emphasis on “library”, tone, loss of iconic symbol) i would agree that would be generous to say its an improvement or fills any real need the previous didnt.— Brandon Moore (@BMooreCreativ) August 22, 2018
Library Library of Congress— Aaron Masik (@MASIK8) August 22, 2018
I was going to the Library Library but I changed my mind to go get a Pizza Pizza @littlecaesars— Aaron Masik (@MASIK8) August 22, 2018
[main image via various sources]
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