Rolling Stone magazine celebrates its 50th anniversary this year as one of the world’s leading pop culture publications, covering music, politics, film and more through five decades of enormous change. Pentagram has designed Rolling Stone: 50 Years, an exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum that explores the history and legacy of the groundbreaking magazine. The show draws upon Rolling Stone’s vast archives to tell its story through original artifacts, manuscripts and photographs, as well as interviews with many of the people featured within its pages and on its iconic covers.
The designers worked closely on the design of the exhibition with Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone’s renowned co-founder, publisher and editor-in-chief. Spread across the top three levels of the museum, the show presents a series of environments inspired by the structure of the magazine itself. The iconographic Rolling Stone logo is used as a framework to tie it all together, with the various sections identified by large-scale typography inspired by 1977 dimensional version of the masthead (originally drawn by Jim Parkinson).
The exhibition begins in the fourth floor atrium with a recreation of Rolling Stone’s first office at 746 Brannan in San Francisco, complete with several original furnishings. Era-defining images by Annie Leibovitz and Baron Wolman, the magazine’s original staff photographers, are displayed, as is Wenner’s original letter from the editor, which lays out the mission of the publication to be an epicenter of music, popular culture and politics: “Rolling Stone is not just about music, but also about the things and attitudes that the music embraces.”