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Pentagram Refreshes TheStreet, an Old Vet of Web Publishing

Launched in 1996, TheStreet was one of the web’s very first publishing companies. Now Paula Scher and Pentagram have finally yanked their brand identity into the 21st century.

When you want a new logo that’s going to be an indisputable slam-dunk — as opposed to… well, you know — you go to Pentagram. Specifically, Pentagram partner and graphic-design titan Paula Scher. In a world where it’s de rigueur to sneer at solid branding design, Scher’s designs are the next best thing to bulletproof. So it’s only logical that the online financial journalism veterans at TheStreet approached Scher to help them update their long-stagnant logo.

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street

Scher’s new brand identity drops the no-longer-necessary “.com” (this is 2011 — who isn’t a dot-com?) and the clichéd, Wall Street Journal-wannabe serif typeface. In their place: a muscular, no-nonsense font (a hand-drawn modification of Akzidenz Grotesk, if you’re wondering) with a triple-dash graphic mark, inspired by (what did you expect?) street markings, that boils the brand down to its Platonic essence.

“I just looked at a real street: those three dotted lines are the fast lane,” Scher tells Co.Design. “It’s a perfect analogy to who they are.” She and her collaborator Lisa Kitschenberg took the direct approach to sell the client on their idea, too — they led the presentation with this video:

Yup. A video of traffic. That is some serious Don Draper-level stuff. But if you’re Paula Scher, you can pull it off — and back it up. “We talked about the three dashes or bars representing ‘buy sell hold’, stock information moving? there are all kinds of uses for that bit,” she says. “It was designed not just to be a logo, but for a whole pile of communication needs. It’s the kind of thing that I like to say ‘has legs.'”

Indeed:

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In fact, there’s just one fly in the ointment: seeing Scher’s sterling work plopped atop one of the most horrifically designed websites this side of a tweenaged Myspace page. Dudes: that’s like putting thousand-dollar caviar on top of a week-old slice of pizza you found in between your couch cushions. Have you no class?!

[Read more at Pentagram]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.

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