Pentagram writes: ‘When the two publishing giants Penguin and Random House merged in 2013, the combined companies faced the challenge of merging two iconic graphic identities. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have created a flexible brand system for Penguin Random House that establishes a new identity for the corporate parent while also preserving and enhancing the individual identities of the group’s 250 imprints.’
‘To develop the identity, the team explored many different combinations of penguins and houses—one sketch imagined an igloo—as well as abstract symbols that had nothing to do with either. It eventually became clear that it didn’t make sense to create a new symbol for a company that already has 250 symbols, none of which are going away, and each of which has its own heritage and value. The challenge was to come up with a wordmark that could at once provide a strong endorsement for each of the imprint symbols, and that could in turn gain itself in meaning through association with them.
‘The wordmark required a typeface that was neutral enough to work with all the different imprint symbols, yet wasn’t a cold sans serif. Shift has charm and a literary character, along with good legibility at small sizes. In its lighter weights the typeface has the look and feel of a typewriter font—Shift was originally designed by Jeremy Mickel as an heir to Courier—and it provides a connection to the traditional world of writers and writing.’