Spot the US icons in Pentagram’s food truck livery
The brilliant design agency drew up these patriotic pictograms for the USA Pavilion at this year's Milan Expo
The 2015 Milan Expo has brought a bountiful crop of food-related projects, from Massimo Bottura’s upmarket soup kitchen, to Joel Meyerowitz’s photographic study of artisanal loaves.
However, there’s one really great graphic treatment on show at this year’s food-related exposition that deserves closer scrutiny. The brilliant design agency Pentagram has overseen the graphics for the food trucks in the USA Pavilion.
This installation, entitled Food Truck Nation, features six trucks, and was overseen by the Pentagram partner, Michael Beirut and his team. It aims to demonstrate how these informal, street-food outlets have changed our perception of American cuisine; the gourmet burgers, New England lobster rolls and Texan barbecue specialties served from these vehicles show that all-American fast food is often well sourced, reflective of regional culinary variations, and, in many senses, quite healthy.
Pentagram has some form when it comes to smart food graphics; the agency oversaw the branding for the hugely successful chain, Shake Shack. In that instance, Pentagram's Paula Scher and her team paired back the sometimes overly bright chain-restaurant design treatment. In this case, Beirut and his colleagues have illustrated the cultural patchwork that makes up American culture – food and all – with this series of 160 circular pictograms. See if you can spot Elvis Presley, Kanye West and Marilyn Monroe, in among these chilies, pretzels, muffins and cookies.
For more on this story go here; for greater insight into this brilliant design agency, consider this book by its founder Allen Jones. For more of Pentagram’s work, take a look at our new Steven Holl book, which the agency also designed; and for more on graphic design, from the Gutenberg press up until our digital age, get a copy of The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design.