Pentagram redesigns iconic British Film Institute mag, Sight and Sound

Marina Willer and her team at Pentagram London have worked with the British Film Institute (BFI) on redesigning its celebrated film magazine, Sight and Sound.

The redesign also ushers in a new editorial approach for the monthly print publication under the helm of editor-in-chief Mike Williams, former editor of NME. Sight and Sound was launched in 1932, and the newly launched look harks back to former decades' designs.

Pentagram's new visual identity for Sight and Sound is bold and impactful, with a new all-caps masthead – replacing the former more gentle title case serif design. The identity aims to be both contemporary and also reference the magazine's heritage.

"It was a huge honour to redesign a magazine that holds such an extraordinary place in the hearts of cinephiles from all over the world," says Willer. "With a nod to the magazine's amazing heritage, Sight and Sound's new logo is a reimagining of a previous design from the 1970s, referencing an era that believed in film's indisputable place in culture and society."

The redesign features a graphic language inspired by film clapperboards, along with bold typography. Willer deliberately made the grids visible grids throughout the pages to create contrast and pacing, as well as to emphasise the various content strands.

"The new-look Sight and Sound is a confident expression of the hugely respected brand and will hopefully ensure that the magazine continues to appeal to film lovers old and new for years to come," Willer adds.

Content-wise, in-depth articles and reviews remain the backbone of the magazine, and popular regular features such as Dream Palaces (odes to cinemas by filmmakers and others) are retained. These are joined by new regular features looking at soundtracks and poster art, as well as greater access to the magazine's 90-year-spanning archive, such as the new This Month In…page, which digs into an issue from the past and spotlights what people were talking about and how. The first big archive piece is an interview with Bette Davis to coincide with BFI Southbank's Bette Davies: Hollywood Rebel season, which is running throughout August.

New regular columnists Pamela Hutchinson, Jonathan Ross and Phuong Le, will be joined by a guest columnist in the Director's Chair, the first of which is Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund.

The first issue to bear the new design and editorial approach will be the September issue published on 2 August and themed The Future of Film. The issue has four cover options featuring a different filmmaker on each: Chloé Zhao, Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola, and Luca Guadagnino.

Alongside the cover stars, a wide-ranging cast of established and emerging filmmakers including Guillermo del Toro, Claudia Weill, Prano Bailey-Bond, Armando Iannucci, Gurinder Chadha, Edgar Wright, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Dea Kulumbegashvili, Alice Rohrwacher, Mike Leigh, Ben Wheatley and many more, reflect on their hopes and fears for cinema and wider screen culture.

Sight and Sound has also announced a new quarterly collaboration with seminal '90s publication Black Film Bulletin, edited by founder and original editor June Givanni alongside her new co-editors Jan Asante and Mel Hoyes. "Launched in 1993, the Black Film Bulletin was fuelled by a prolific new wave of Black visual culture exploration," says the BFI. "Following a prolonged hibernation, the BFB returns to revisit key moments from the archives, explore current perspectives and cast a critical eye on what the future holds."


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