Reed and Smyth’s EPA Standards Manual Reissue Nears Kickstarter Goal

Kickstarter alums Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth have tapped again into again with their third Kickstarter campaign. Their timely reissuing of design firm Chermayeff & Geismar’s 1977 US EPA Graphic Standards System has garnered over $128,900 from more than 1,498 backers with 21 days remaining on the campaign.  The former Pentagram designers and Order cofounders who are based in Brooklyn, NY  set Kickstarter records for their New York City Transit Authority Standard Manual project and 1975 NASA Graphics Standards Manual in the last two years.

To re-cap, EPA—like many government agencies of the time—was terribly inefficient: their graphic design and communications department. Millions of dollars were being wasted annually due to non-standardized formats, inefficient processes, and almost everything being designed from scratch. Enter Chermayeff & Geismar (now Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv), a firm whose work includes Chase Bank, PBS, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, Mobil Oil and NBC (yes, the peacock).

Dial back to the US in the 1970s. “I Will Survive,” “Dancing Queen,” “Bennie and the Jets” and “ABC” were playing in the Firebird 8-tracks everywhere. Before 1970, the US was in an radically different place; according to Reed and Smyth, “our environment, our cities, our people: abused, dirty, and sick after years of neglect.” Enter President Nixon. Among other decisions, President Nixon helped enact the EPA to protect the environment and the American people.  One of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) top priorities was consolidating numerous state offices––research activities, monitoring, standard-setting, and enforcement activities––to more efficiently carry out its goal of “working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.” Chermayeff & Geismar delivered the 1977 US EPA Graphic Standards System.

Details of the reissue:

  • The reissue will be produced using high quality scans of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv and Steff Geissbuhler’s personal copies. Every page will be printed at the same size as the original and will use the same vibrant Pantone® inks, totaling 14 colors (10 Pantone® spot colors + CMYK).
  • The sheets will be printed on the right side of each spread, with the section dividers including the front and back sides—this is consistent with the original ring-binder format.
  • The reissue will also include 48 pages of photographs from the EPA-commissioned Documerica Project (1970-1977).
  • Foreword by Tom Geismar (Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv)
  • Essay by Christopher Bonanos (New York Magazine, Instant: The Story of Polaroid)
  • Every page of the original EPA Graphic Standards System
  • 48 pages of photographs from the EPA-commissioned Documerica Project
  • Each copy will be protected in a custom made slipcase, built from recycled board and blind embossed with the EPA logo. The interior of the slipcase will be lined with self-colored blue paper, mimicking the blue print on the cover of the manual.

To follow the 1977 US EPA Graphic Standards System Kickstarter campaign and learn more details, please click here.


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