The New School

When Paula Scher and her team at Pentagram delivered the refreshed identity for the New School, they provided a bold new typographic approach for the university. But figuring out how the identity translated into the hundreds of publications, events, school environments, and digital experiences was an ongoing endeavor. Working with the talented team of in-house designers and writers, I lead the design of many of the university’s print, events, and identity projects. The result is a robust visual system and approach that keeps the “new” resonant even after 100 years.
Student ID card
Cover from the New School Continuing Education brochure
With seven distinct schools, and 19 buildings in New York alone, rebranding everything was an enormous undertaking as every touchpoint had to be updated from entire buildings down to the student ID cards.
Cover from the New School Student Enrollment Guide
The Student Enrollment Guide was designed to feel inviting and reassuring for newly accepted students. Part guidebook, part notebook, the wide margins and checklists allowed students and parents jot down notes and progress on their way to the first day of school.
Gatefold spread from Student Enrollment Guide with photo of 5th Avenue in New York
Taking inspiration from Ladislav Sutnar and Otto Neurath, playful figures and illustrations add a bit of levity to otherwise dry material.
Cover to the Performing Arts brochure
For the first time, the College of Performing Arts was bringing the jazz, classical music, and drama programs under one roof and needed a look-book that would comprise all three. The solution to showing the cross-disciplinary approach approach to the school was to let images collide and overlap, letting the excitement of performance serve as visual inspiration.
Spread from brochure that says "Imagine a new kind of artistic center where"
Spread from brochure that says "ideas as well as people become legendary"
Brochure spread that says "an entire city becomes your mentor"
Spread from brochure with photo of Union Square
Spread from brochure with image of a performer on stage
Spread showing New School faculty and Jeremy Irons in conversation
Spread with a collage of people performing
Brochure with photo of Mark Ruffalo teaching a master class
Spread with photo of performing artists
On many spreads, headlines are integrated into the photographs to provide a sense of theatrical space. Full-color images are mixed with black and white tintype photographs illustrating not just the final performance but the rigor and process that went into it.
Poster with the Andy Warhol quote "They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
Poster with the phrase "Change is inevitable, progress is optional."
Poster with the Babe Ruth quote "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
Poster with the New York Times quote "Failure is a badge of honor."
Just before the new brand was launched, these teaser posters were plastered up all over the university indicating that a big transformation was coming. With famous quotes about change, the posters stood out from the usual visual clutter and lacked any kind of traditional institutional voice. The only clue was the date at the bottom of each.
A variety of sub-brands needed to be created, including this one for the Nth Degree Series, a group of lectures, discussions, and performances that represent the best the New School has to offer. The identity defines what it means to take something to the nth degree at the New School.
Posters for each of the events used the degree symbol to house information about a specific program. A calendar of events also made it easy to see what was on the horizon.