Pentagram redesigns Sight and Sound for a new era of film

BFI’s monthly publication worked with Pentagram’s Marina Willer to reimagine its visual identity and overhaul the design of the magazine

Founded in 1932, Sight and Sound is the UK’s oldest film publication and has long been considered one of the international authorities on the subject. While independent and arthouse film is at its heart, BFI’s monthly magazine covers every corner of moving image culture, from TikTok through to TV.

After a tough year for the film industry in the wake of the pandemic, the publication is relaunching with a new look and editorial approach developed in collaboration with Pentagram.

The relaunched September issue explores ‘the future of film’, and features four filmmaker cover stars: Chloé Zhao, whose film Nomadland cleaned up at the 2021 Oscars; Steve McQueen, whose series Small Axe was one of the most important British TV moments of 2020; Sofia Coppola, winner of the best original screenplay Oscar in 2003 for Lost in Translation; and Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino.

Existing regular features in the magazine such as Dream Palaces are joined by new features looking at soundtracks and poster art, while in-depth articles and reviews remain the backbone of the publication.

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.

Pentagram partner Marina Willer was asked to look at the Sight and Sound brand as a whole but centred around the redesign of the printed magazine. Nodding to Sight and Sound’s heritage, the new logo is a reimagining of a previous design from the 1970s using Aldo Novarese’s classic typeface Eurostile.

Willer and her team worked on a complete redesign of the magazine, giving it a more contemporary look inspired by the graphic language of film clapperboards, with bold typography and visible grids used throughout.

Condensed and semi-condensed versions of 205TF’s Plaak are used as the headline typeface, while Matthew Carter’s Big Caslon is used for body copy. The bold juxtaposition of type and images adds drama to the opening spreads, and images can appear as full-bleed, cropped, or cut-out circles.

Black features heavily in all of the brand communications, and the design team created a complementary colour palette to be used alongside it. Different colour backgrounds are used to signpost each section within the magazine, and the masthead colour on the cover changes according to the content.