Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971


The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures partnered with Pentagram for the design of Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971, which explores the rich history of Black participation in American cinema from its beginnings to just beyond the civil rights movement. Inspired by and named after an independent all-Black-cast movie from 1923, Regeneration seeks to revive lost or forgotten films, filmmakers, and performers for a contemporary audience. Sharp Grotesk takes center stage across the project's exhibition, companion book, and website.

The companion book’s design employs an eclectic approach to typography inspired by the eye-catching posters and their dramatic display type that drew audiences to the films, An ensemble of typefaces were chosen that hint at the period as well as the posters’ expressive lettering, most of which was originally hand-drawn. It makes perfect sense then that the lead role in the book is given to Sharp Grotesk. Beyond its sheer versatility and a range of widths that allows it to be everything from powerful to whimsical, Sharp Grotesk itself began as Lucas Sharp’s hand-drawn lettering for a poster. The book cover repeats the title in strong upper-case type (set in Sharp Grotesk Black), projecting out of the dark like a film in the theater and suggesting an evolution into a bright future.

Sharp Grotesk - Regeneration 1

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