5 important things that happened in design this week

We looked at what to expect from this year’s London Design Festival, and Apple launched its new iPhone – the important design news from the last seven days.

Apple’s iPhone X was unveiled

Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the iPhone this year, details of Apple’s much-discussed new handset were finally revealed this week.

The iPhone X includes new features such as face ID recognition, which allows users to unlock their phone and make contactless payments simply by scanning their face.

The back as well as the front of the phone is now entirely covered in glass, meaning that the phone can be charged wirelessly simply by resting it on a charging mat.

Other features traditionally associated with the iPhone have been scrapped altogether, including the “home” button that used to sit at the bottom of the screen. Users can now return to the home screen by swiping up from the bottom of the screen with their finger.

The handset also includes a “super retina” screen, 7-megapixel front camera and 12-megapixel rear camera.

Along with the iPhone X launch, Apple has released the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are more similar to previous iPhone models, the Apple Watch Series Three and a new charging accessory called Airpower that allows three devices to be charged simultaneously.

The iPhone X starts from £999 and will be available to pre-order from 27 October. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus start at £699, and are available to pre-order from 15 September. The Apple Watch Series Three starts at £399, and is available to pre-order from 15 September.


The TUC underwent a rebrand

Some 20 years since Lloyd Northover designed the visual identity for the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the consultancy unveiled its rebrand and repositioning for the organisation this week.

The organisation – which works with and represents trade unions in the UK – revealed a new logo featuring multiple, overlapping arrows that represent unions and members coming together. A new strapline has also been incorporated, which reads: “Changing the world of work for good”.

The new brand positioning looks to change perceptions of the organisation largely being concerned with “striking and fighting”, said Lloyd Northover CEO Simon Ward, instead focusing on “coming together and campaigning”.

“The days when people might have a job and even a career for life have gone, so few join a union for those reasons. They join because they want to campaign for change. If you want to do that, this is your kind of brand,” added Northover.

The brand launched at the TUC annual conference last week. A wider roll out of the identity and positioning is currently underway.


We looked ahead to the London Design Festival

Throughout this week, we have been taking a look at some of the best bits to look forward to at this year’s London Design Festival in a series of previews ahead of its launch next week.

The annual design festival will take over the whole capital for a week, with a programme that encompasses everything from panel talks and installations to trade shows and exhibitions.

Highlights will include a landmark installation from French graphic artist Camille Walala in the heart of London’s financial district, and trade show Designjunction, which returns to its King Cross location with a new talks programme that features Design Week’s Sarah Dawood hosting discussions on creative education and promoting diversity in the design industry.

Keep an eye on the Design Week site next week for more coverage of the festival.


The Design Council’s Spark programme looked to help people with arthritis

The Design Council unveiled the 10 winning designs in its 2017 Spark programme this week.

Each of the 10 designers and entrepreneurs received 16 weeks of support during the programme, along with £15,000 to develop their product.

This year’s programme partner was charity Arthritis Research UK, and three of the finalists created products that aim to help people living with arthritis; of which there are currently 10 million in the UK alone.

Kikka Digga is a spade attachment that makes gardening easier on the back, Workey comprises a door key attachment that makes opening doors more comfortable and Nubbit has a hand-held grip that makes electronic tablets simpler to support and hold.

Other featured designs include AirBreathe, a filtration mask for people living in cities with high air pollution; CamCup, a reusable coffee cup made from recycled coffee grounds; and Cue Sense, a pair of smart glasses for people with visual impairment.


A new company launched selling furniture made out of recycled rubbish

Old smartphones, food waste cigarette butts are just some of the materials used by furniture brand Pentatonic, which launched this week.

The Europe-based company aims to cut down on environmental damage by turning people’s everyday rubbish into furniture and other household objects.

It currently produces tables, chairs, glassware and individual components of furniture, which are all modular so that customers can turn them into something else if they want to. Pentatonic also trades parts and materials with existing customers, and will buy back products if they no longer want them.

“Furniture has traditionally been an industry with a high carbon footprint,” said Pentatonic co-founder Jamie Hall. “If every home in the world had a single piece of furniture, accessory or clothing made from trash, that would be a lot of trash doing something more valuable than floating in an ocean or burning in landfill.”

Pentatonic’s products are available globally via its website. The company will also run an installation at this year’s London Design Festival, as part of the Design Frontiers exhibition at Somerset House.

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