Robert F. Wagner Graduate School

Merit Award

In 2004, the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service moved from a vintage Georgian building on Washington Square Park to a loft in the Puck Building in Soho. Collaborating with project architects Suben/Dougherty Partnership, Pentagram created environmental graphics that integrate the school's mission with its unique building. The interior circulation is grid-like and reminiscent of city streets. The designers created an identity and visual language for the school's printed promotions, and extended this to the environmental graphics for the school. Wayfinding signage resembles street signs, but here they are affixed to the original columns of the loft. Signage typography leads around corners. The graphics help create a sense of activity commensurate with the school's mission to reframe public service.

Jury Comments: 

"Form supports content in this clean, direct signage for a school of public service. The urban context of the school is reflected in the playful use of vernacular street signs on the interior of the building. The black-and-white typography is refreshingly frank and ordinary, while the wrapping of text around the corners adds dimensionality throughout the program. This is a great example of a simple project that avoids superfluous design gestures. It's design straight up, for the public good, with a quiet sense of humor driving it forward."

Design Firm: 



Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University

Location City: 

New York, New York

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Peter Mauss/Esto

Design Team: 

Michael Bierut (Principal in Charge), Tracey Cameron


Suben/Dougherty Partnership (project architects)



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