Innovative visual identity inspired by the new school's vision for the future

A Multi-Year Vision to Prepare Students for the Creative Economy


NEW YORK, March 30, 2015 - The New School announced today a new visual identity for the progressive Greenwich Village university, which has evolved its mission and vision over the past few years in order to better prepare students to contribute to and succeed in a rapidly changing society. In a world that increasingly demands better-designed objects, communication, systems, and organizations to meet social needs, The New School has realigned its curriculum to develop the design-inspired thinking essential for success in the emerging creative economy.

With Parsons School of Design at its center, The New School is the only comprehensive university that can combine design thinking with varied areas of study: from liberal arts to performing arts, from global policy to social research. The university built a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to learning and honed a unique process that is proven to create disruptive thinkers through a curriculum that emphasizes iterative learning, with a focus on collaboration and creative problem solving for social good.

“The New School is reimagining what it means to serve our students and to prepare them for a global economy,” said David E. Van Zandt, president of The New School. “Our new visual identity is a symbol of our efforts to make the university stronger for students, better able to compete for faculty and funding, and attract top employers and leaders of the creative economy.”

The new visual identity will help raise awareness of The New School as a university that is continuously evolving and where design with a human-centered orientation drives approaches to addressing contemporary issues. The New School’s new design-inspired approach showcases the entirety of the university as well as the internationally recognized schools it comprises. The university is already seeing the impact of this new institutional approach, with increased interest and applications for the coming 2015-2016 year.

Building on its progressive identity, The New School turned to world-class design firm, Pentagram, and renowned graphic designer Paula Scher to create the university’s new look and express its vision as an integrated institution. This innovative solution reimagines what a design system can be and provides the tools to create a groundbreaking, yet consistent, identity.

“The New School is a university committed to innovation, academic freedom and experimentation,” said Scher. “We wanted to create an identity reflective of that unique educational approach, yet it had to be recognizable and flexible enough to enable the university to evolve over time. The resulting design system positions The New School at the forefront of both design and education.”

The aesthetics of the identity system are inspired by the architecture and typography of the New School’s new award winning LEED certified University Center, which serves as the campus hub and physically manifests the university’s vision of students interacting and engaging across all disciplines. The identity also incorporates a pair of parallel lines that echo the horizontal striations of the landmark Joseph Urban building on 12th Street and Sixth Avenue.

As part of the new identity, The New School commissioned a bespoke typeface called Neue (pronounced NOY-a) that is composed of extended letterforms and governed by a custom algorithm, which is revolutionary in its combination of regular, extended and very extended widths of the same font programmed together and used seemingly at random. Iconic and instantly recognizable, the typography embodies the progressive mission of The New School and represents a technological advance in the art of type design.

Neue is a customized version of the font Irma, which was designed by Peter Bil’ak and is used in the environmental graphics of the University Center. Scher commissioned Bil’ak to draw and program Neue, which means “new” in German. The proprietary font has been named in honor of The New School, with a nod to The New School’s historic luminaries. The university also commissioned a Pantone color, called Parsons Red, to honor the design history of Parsons School of Design.


Editor’s Note:

Paula Scher will discuss her approach to the new design during an event tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the John L. Tishman Auditorium at 63 Fifth Avenue, with a reception following at 8 p.m.

For members of the media who wish to attend, please RSVP with Josephine Parr at 212.229.5667 x3094 or [email protected]. New School President David Van Zandt and Provost Tim Marshall, along with Paula Scher, are available for interviews.
Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence. Learn more at


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New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Josephine Parr,
The New School
212-229-5667 x.3094
[email protected]

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