Drawing from a year of observation, and a few all-nighters perusing recent uploads on LogoLounge, an overall thought occurred to me: KISS is making a comeback. Not that KISS. Sorry fans. KISS as in Keep It Simple Stupid. Designers are paying heed to the old saying and rebelling against complexity. Simplicity is king once again. Typography has taken a decidedly strong swing to the austere. Nearly a neo-Swiss style, many wordmarks have abandoned much of their personality and adopted a universal sans serif construction. I say neo because with every incarnation of a style there are shifts from its former self. Notice also the simplicity of shape. Pure geometry is much more evident as foundation components in logos. As we’ll investigate, the circle has never been more central to design and in such a stripped down motif. Center stage without the wardrobe.
The New School has a new identity. The institution turned to Pentagram and Paula Scher to create the university’s new look and to express its vision as an integrated institution with “design-inspired thinking essential for success in the emerging creative economy” at the center of its curriculum.
The aesthetics of the identity system are inspired by the architecture and typography of the school’s new LEED certified University Center, while also incorporating parallel lines that echo the horizontal striations of the landmark Joseph Urban building nearby. As part of the identity, Scher commissioned a bespoke typeface from Peter Bil’Ak dubbed Neue.
It is composed of extended letterforms and governed by a custom algorithm, revolutionary in its combination of regular, extended and very extended widths of the same font programmed together and used seemingly at random. Each individual school within the university appears underneath the primary logo. The university also commissioned a Pantone color, Parsons Red, to honor the history and centrality of the Parsons School of Design.