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Responses by Paula Scher, designer, Pentagram

Background: The city of Minneapolis had commissioned the landscape design firm Field Operations to create a design plan for Nicollet Mall, a highly populated shopping and business street in Minneapolis. We were brought onto the team to design the identity for Nicollet, as well as a wayfinding system.

Reasoning: Nicollet runs through the city of Minneapolis, from southwest to northeast. I discovered that if you juxtaposed two arrows and cropped off the outer angle of each, it made a stenciled capital N. If you made three arrows in similar positions, you could make a stenciled capital M, which could stand for “Mall.”

I worked with my associate, Courtney Gooch, and we began making patterns with the stencils. We also discovered that the N could appear in three-dimension if two wayfinding signs were aligned back-to-back and both the top of one sign and the bottom of the other were bent inward. Then it would be visible to pedestrians. We also persuaded the city to drop “Mall” and use the words “On Nicollet” to promote the area instead.

Challenges: Working with the Minneapolis City Government on the project. The budget was tight and the process was slow.

Favorite details: I am most proud of the logo and signs. I think they came out great.

Time constraints: The project moved slowly because of the number of people involved. It caused us to make last-minute decisions.

pentagram.com

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