Design Week’s 10 biggest stories of 2016

The news that got you talking this year – we look at the 10 most-read stories across Design Week this year.

“People are amazed at what designers could once do with their hands”

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This year our most-read story was a preview of hotly anticipated film Graphic Means, which is out in 2017 and spotlights traditional handcrafted typesetting.

We caught up with director Briar Levit to find out what viewers can expect and chatted to her about why hands on skills are still of great importance and of interest to designers.


Michael Wolff: “Why all the poor logos?”

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One of graphic design’s elder statesmen was rattled over a spate of badly designed logos, which amounted to “visual nonsense”.

As well as singling out a few recent examples, he looked at what history has taught us about branding, and how we have arrived at a point where there is a “misconception of what brands are”.

He also considered the brands which get it right and how designers can make sure their work is as effective as possible. This one really got you talking.


Nando’s global rebrand looks to re-connect with South African roots

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Nandos rebranded and you heard it here first. We spoke to the South African consultancy Sunshinegun, which was behind the project and found out why the chicken giant was looking to better reflect its roots.

There was a lot of attention to detail with this project, which included finding a “PERi Red Pantone” colour matched with real chillis.

Meanwhile a signwriter was engaged so that a “Nandos Hand” font could be established.


What I talk about when I talk about branding

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Colourful Brand Strategy’s Emily Penny was rather narked about a misunderstanding of what “brand” and “branding” mean.

Her piece dovetails rather nicely with some of Michael Woolf’s arguments. Penny spoke to designers who told her that clients and designers are saying “brand” when they mean “logo”.

Penny spoke to dozens of designers and clients to get to the bottom of things and clear up these definitions once and for all.


Gumtree in first major rebrand since launch

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Koto helped Gumtree rebrand, overhauling its rather dated logo and helping the company to communicate what it does more effectively.

The new brand looked to establish a sense of community and arrived with a new site focusing on an improved user experience.

Koto co-founder James Greenfield talked us through how the Gumtree brand was rebuilt step-by-step.


Brexit: What does leaving the EU mean for designers?

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When UK voters decided to leave the EU following a referendum it spelt uncertainty for business and industry.

We unpicked the issues that could affect designers and spoke to those closest to the argument.

While a number of concerns have been raised some corners of the design industry met the news with determinism and optimism.


Neville Brody: “Design shouldn’t have to make money – it can just be out there doing great stuff”

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In April Neville Brody let us into his world to give an insight into how he runs Brody Associates and what his working methods and practices are.

He talked us through some key projects for the likes of Channel 4 and Coca Cola, and reflected on a long career.

Brody talks risk taking, experimenting and why design doesn’t always have to make money.


David Bowie – a life in album covers

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The year had barely begun when David Bowie died. He left an indelible impression on several generations, not just through his music but also because of a rich design language, which was as changeable as he was.

We remembered this design history and the designers he worked with, including Jonathan Barnbrook who worked on the final album Blackstar. You can learn more about Barnbrook’s work with Bowie, in this separate interview.


Co-op restructures, rebrands and revives 1968 logo

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The Co-op rebrand was triggered by a major company restructuring and saw the brand return to its 1968 roots.

Along with Kodak and NatWest, the Co-op wanted to remember prosperous, stable times and build a platform based on this to look to the future.

To understand the new Co-op brand we spoke to North who led the rebrand as well as Ben Terrett (formerly of Government Digital Service) who is now the Co-op group’s design director.


Mastercard reveals new logo for the first time in 20 years

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Mastercard rationalised its logo and introduced a bit of Swiss-style simplicity as part of a rebrand led by Pentagram partners Michael Bierut and Luke Hayman.

Bierut took us through the project, which made some key changes to the recognisable visual language of overlapping circles.


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