Storefront for Art and Architecture is an independent, non-profit art and architecture organization in New York City. Since its inception in 1982 the non-profit organization is committed to architecture, art and design.
The branding for the organization’s 2023 benefit gala, created by Pentagram, is a visual feast of New York mementos with subway signs, yellow cab taxis, and USPS stickers used by graffiti artists that are placed all over the streets of NYC. It’s all about the details with this vibrant branding.
Pentagram describes their effort, in this case study (and below).
The Storefront for Art and Architecture is a quintessential New York institution, committed to the arts and invested in the best possible use of public space. For the 2023 Storefront Gala, held at The Aula on Mulberry Street, Pentagram has created an event identity featuring the theme, ‘NYC Mementos,’ drawing inspiration from the streets, signage and scaffolding of New York City.
This year’s gala honorees include the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija and the curator Estrellita Brodsky. All three honorees live and work in New York, and are constantly in conversation with the physical needs and artistic appetites of their home city. Some of the most ingenious additions to the city’s topography were designed by Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro and Benjamin Gilmartin. Tiravanija’s interactive museum pieces—like the ping pong tables recently on display at MoMA PS1—continue a long New York tradition of asking the audience to play a role in the arts themselves, and Brodsky has been essential to strengthening New York’s ties to the rest of the world.
To encapsulate that New York energy into a visual identity, Pentagram hit the streets for inspiration. Everywhere you look, there are New York mementos: the crowded signs adorning buildings in Chinatown, the stickers and wheat-paste flyers covering mailboxes, and the wayfinding and graffiti of the subway. Drawing on that found iconography, the design team created a modular set of graphics based on those mementos. Each one is like a sticker carrying a piece of information necessary for the gala’s project materials; just like they do in the wild, the stickers can layer and build atop one another. For the lettering, the designers selected Helvetica, in an homage to the New York City transit system. Pentagram has collaborated with Storefront since 2012, working on a number of projects such as the identity for its 40th anniversary benefit and exhibition, its spring 2019 benefit and its spring 2017 benefit. This year’s gala invitation was the first to be mailed out with actual stickers—perfect for leaving a memento on a mailbox on the walk home.