Pentagram’s Custom Signs Make Picking Up Dog Poop A Religious Experience.

pentagram dog signs for the church of st. john the divine

Michael Bierut and designer Jesse Reed of Pentagram have created a series of heavenly signs for New York’s well known Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine that gently remind visitors to curb and leash thy dogs on Sunday, Oct. 6 (today) for its annual St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals.

Pentagram Dog Signs for The Church of St. John the Divine

Funerals of many notables have been held at St. John the Divine, such as Soprano’s star James Gandolfini, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, writer James Baldwin, inventor Nikola Tesla, musician Dizzy Gillespie and puppeteer Jim Henson.

Visitors will encounter a new set of commandments designed for the institution, which employs the custom font Divine, a redrawn version of Frederic Goudy’s 1928 Blackletter.

above: The font, St. John The Divine, was created exclusively for Pentagram to rebrand the Cathedral by typographer Joe Finocchiaro in 2009.

Throughout the past few years, Pentagram has been refreshing the identity of Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Their relationship with the Cathedral, an extraordinary New York institution, goes back fourteen years. They designed its previous identity in 1999.

Shortly after 9/11, the Cathedral was severely damaged by fire; a painstaking seven-year restoration followed, and the interior was reopened to great acclaim last November. The updated identity, which has been slowly introduced over the past years, builds on the success of the reopening.

above: The updated identifier pairs a drawing of the Cathedral’s rose window with the name set in Franklin Gothic.

The Cathedral’s identifier juxtaposes a drawing of the rose window (shown below) that dominates the building’s western wall with asymmetrical sans serif typography. The signature is complimented with a new version of Frederic Goudy‘s blackletter text from 1928, which Goudy had based on Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible.

In a process that paralleled the Cathedral’s detailed interior restoration, typographer Joe Finocchiaro “repointed” Goudy’s letterforms to ensure crisp reproduction at large sizes.

above: A comparison of the letter P in Goudy’s original blackletter, left, and redrawn by Joe Finocchiaro for the custom font Divine, right.

The signs will be a permanent addition to the Cathedral grounds, a popular spot for walking dogs in the neighborhood.

above: The church also holds many exhibits. Dog Bless You: The Photography of Mary Bloom, opened there last month and will be on view through winter 2013. For more information on the exhibition and photographer Mary Bloom’s evocative portraits of Cathedral friends both four- and two-legged, visit here

Related links:
Joe Finocchiaro
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Architectural history and images of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
Construction of the West Rose Window