There are design studios, and then there is Pentagram. It’s nearly impossible to believe that the firm was created just over 50 years ago, partly because design firms usually do not outlast their founders (there were five of them, and it started in London) but mostly because its ongoing work remains so fresh and innovative.

There are now more than 20 partners in four cities (London, New York, Berlin, and Austin), but there is no president and no demand from on high to do something no one wants to do. From company logos to magazine design, from subway signs to cookware, to playgrounds, to billboards, to the credit cards in your wallet, Pentagram’s work surrounds us, and no matter what the project is, at its core is good design. As the adage goes, no one ever got fired for hiring Pentagram. You may be fired for other reasons, but even then Pentagram could probably design your résumé. —Jim Kelly

Pentagram: Living by Design, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Pentagram’s founding, is published by Unit Editions

Jim Kelly is the Books Editor for AIR MAIL