Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and team have designed the identity for FLOAT, a new podcast that explores the intersection of art, science and creativity. The series is hosted by the acclaimed filmmaker Mary Sweeney and the neuroscientist Jonas Kaplan, who are both professors at the University of Southern California, and features conversations with filmmakers, artists, musicians, technologists and neuroscientists, talking about their common inspirations, motivations and processes.
FLOAT grew out of a course Sweeney created in 2011, “Dreams, the Brain and Storytelling,” bringing Kaplan on as a collaborator. Guests on the show’s first season include neuroscientists Antonio Damasio, Sam Harris and Kalina Christoff; filmmakers Kasi Lemmons, Gus Van Sant, Walter Murch and Garth Jennings; singer-songwriter Lykke Li; video game designer Richard Lemarchand; new media artist Nancy Baker Cahill; and fine artist Tavares Strachan, among others.
Sweeney and Oberman first worked together in 2014 on Pentagram’s rebranding campaign for Film Independent. Sweeney approached Oberman with the name FLOAT for the identity, and asked her and her team to test it, to explore other options. After considering many alternatives, together they unanimously came back to FLOAT.
Working closely with Sweeney and Kaplan on the identity, the Pentagram team helped develop a logo that expressed the complex concept of the podcast. The logo illustrates the title with simple, delicate type and motion. The letter “O” in “FLOAT” gently rises and hovers above the rest of the word, then descends to the baseline. The logo typography is modified from the reverse-contrast geometric sans Gopher (designed by Adam Ladd).
The logo is accompanied by an evocative background that conveys the podcast’s subject with a mysterious and dream-like image that invites viewers to look twice and find new details. The designers layered and melded photos of sky, water, trees and human figures to create a composition that variously suggests reflections or things just below the surface, neurons and synapses in a brain scan, a view through a microscope, or a cinematic dreamscape. The logo and image work together to create a memorable visual identity for FLOAT across different podcast platforms.
The podcast is available on Spotify and other platforms, with new episodes released every Sunday. Listen to it here.
Project team: Emily Oberman, Mira Khandpur, Laura Berglund, Renee Freiha, Lisa Grant