Pentagram’s typographic installation draws attention to animal and plant conservation

Designed in response to a call by artists Ackroyd & Harvey, Pentagram’s typographic installation lets viewers highlight endangered species.

Almost 5 000 of the world’s critically endangered animal and plant species could become extinct if we don’t intervene. As part of Ackroyd & Harvey’s Conflicted Seeds + Spirit exhibition, Pentagram’s Harry Pearce and his team created an artwork that brings the plight of endangered animals to the fore.

Seeing Red..Overdrawn is a seven-metre wide, three-metre high typographic wall located at the newly refurbished David Attenborough Building in Cambridge, UK.

Using permanent red and black markers, visitors trace over the installation, making the lightly printed names of the endangered species stand out. The process is a tangible way to bring the topic of conservation to the front of our minds.

According to Pentagram’s website, the installation names and commemorates the species according to their scientific classification.

As for the typographic design, the first is Caslon Italic, designed in 1722 and in keeping within the traditional style of binomial nomenclature, which is the formal system of naming species of living things. The second is Gill Sans Uppercase. The third is the use of double dots to separate the species, taken directly from Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. 

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