Paula Scher Designs a 'Rule-Breaking' Typeface for The New School

Pentagram's Fresh Identity for University Includes Multiple-Width Letterforms Working in Unison

Published On
Mar 30, 2015

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Typeface gets a new kind of treatment in Pentagram's new identity design for Greenwich Village, New York-based university The New School, created by firm principal Paula Scher.

The new identity introduces a bespoke typeface called Neue (new in German) that is composed of extended letterforms with three different widths, all of which can be used within a single word at any given time. Together, the combination of different widths seems to be chosen at random, but according to Pentagram, "an algorithm has been created to faciliate the use of the three widths in headlines and text."

The idea of multiple typography widths, along with the new identity as a whole, help drive home the nature of the school's "integrated, flexible and personalized" curriculum.

The New School also appears alongside the name of each individual school. Each one utilizes the seemingly randomized letterform widths, including Parsons School of Design, Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts, and Mannes School of Music (see the slideshow).

Pentagram said in a statement, "the typography embodies the progressive mission of The New School and represents a technological advance in the art of type design." Neue is a customized version of the font Irma, already used in the environmental graphics of the New School's University Center and was designed by Peter Bil'ak. Scher commissioned Bil'ak to draw and program Neue, and it has has been named in honor of The New School.


Mar 30, 2015
The New School
The New School
Design Agency:
Pentagram/New York

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