Yale Schwarzman Center - Brand Identity

  • The Stephen A. Schwarzman Center at Yale University is a new student commons and public events space that, for the first time, will give Yale a central hub dedicated to cultural programming and student life at the heart of the campus. Expected to be completed by 2020, the Center will transform the historic University Commons and three floors of the adjacent Memorial Hall (both built in 1901) into a 88,300-square-foot complex reimagined with versatile performance, exhibition, meeting, dining and gathering spaces.

    Pentagram designed a brand identity for the Schwartzman Center that helps create a sense of place for the complex, which was formerly known as Yale Commons. The university has a strong institutional identity system, and the challenge was to create a brand for the Center that would help it stand out and get noticed. The shapes of the building’s rotunda and Memorial Hall together resemble an exclamation point, and the identity playfully uses the punctuation mark as an attention-getting symbol that announces events and programming.

    The symbol is used in conjunction with a wordmark that follows the conventions of the Yale identity system. The Center logotype remains consistent throughout applications, but the typography for each event is customized to reflect the content or subject. The inaugural season included symposia on foodjazz, and the legacies of Prince and David Bowie. These events were held all over campus in advance of the Center’s completion, and the identity helped establish a recognizable brand for the Center programming.