5 important things that happened in design this week

A bid to increase the creative potential of London, Essex and Kent and a new brand for The Alan Turing Institute – the important design news of the last seven days.

Sadiq Khan looked to increase the creative potential of London, Essex and Kent

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan lobbied Government this week to turn the Thames Estuary, which stretches out from south west London to Essex and Kent, into a creative hub.

Khan is working with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to increase the creative potential of seven London boroughs, alongside Essex and Kent. This will include building new facilities, investing in skills and providing job opportunities.

Current proposals include a facility for manufacturing large-scale artworks and sculptures in Silvertown, alongside the UK’s biggest 3D printing centre, a centre for experiential arts in Woolwich, and a new hub for digital design and gaming at the University of Essex in Colchester.

Khan has put a proposal together and submitted it to Lord Heseltine, head of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, on the basis that “we build on the success” of London’s creative industries and “transform the Thames Estuary into a centre for creative production”, said Khan.

The Alan Turing Institute revealed its new branding

The Alan Turing Institute opened last year, and a new visual identity was launched this week which looked to make the institute stand out from other maths and data science research organisations.

Red&White has created the logo, which is the institution name set in a sans-serif Haas Unica typeface, spread over three lines and unaligned. This is accompanied by a series of shapes which take on a palette of 13 colours.

The eclectic shapes have more thought behind them than they first appear. They are based on the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical theory used to explain the arrangement of natural objects such as sunflowers and pine cones. The theory relates to a series of numbers, which have been plotted in the design to create different shapes.

The branding is a subtle nod to mathematicians, while also aiming to appeal to a wider audience and stand out from the “typical, masculine” design normally associated with data science, says Red&White design director Nima Falatoori. Such features include an exclusive colour palette of blue and black, stock imagery of scientists and matrix-style shapes such as lines and circles, he said.

The new branding is currently rolling out across online platforms, marketing materials and across signage and interior design at The Alan Turing Institute’s headquarters in the British Library.

Last.fm’s website and social media platforms had a refresh

Music recommendation service Last.fm revealed a new online look this week, which uses imagery inspired by soundwaves.

Consultancy O Street has completed the redesign, with the aim of making the brand “more recognisable”, according to designer Rebecca Simpson.

A main colour palette of red, blue and yellow has been used to reflect and contrast the brand’s bright red colour, and soundwaves have been imagined through a series of templates that either represent large soundwaves or smaller ones. The studio also developed a bespoke typeface for Last.fm.

The brand refresh has now rolled out across Last.fm’s website and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

E-cigarette brand Vapourlites revealed “clinical”-style packaging

Wonderstuff rebranded Vapourlites and designed three new ranges of its packaging this week, with the aim of showing that e-cigarettes can have a “positive” effect of “enabling people to get off smoking”, according to the design consultancy.

The new packaging had to comply with the Government’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which is new regulation around the advertising, packaging and sale of e-cigarettes. It follows the new plain packaging guidelines put in place last year for tobacco cigarettes.

The regulations state that nicotine health warnings, icons, a list of ingredients and an information leaflet are now all compulsory additions to packaging of e-cigarettes.

Wonderstuff said it worked with these warnings, assigning them two sides of the box, placing the barcode on the bottom, and allowing two sides to be free for design.

It created three ranges for the brand, ranging from a “medicinal”, disposable range to be sold in pharmacies, through to a “high-end”, premium range.

When asked about working for an e-cigarette client, Wonderstuff design consultant Karl Bell said that the studio felt that “what [Vapourlites] is hoping to achieve is a… good thing in trying to get people off smoking”.

The new packaging is currently rolling out.

A new .art domain for cultural organisations worldwide began to grow

Interbrand revealed its branding for a new .art web address this week, which aims to unify cultural, art and technology organisations worldwide.

The .art domain has been set up by UK Creative Ideas, and aims to establish an online global creative community, according to the company.

Interbrand has designed a “minimal, flexible” visual identity for the domain, which aims to put the spotlight on the member organisations’ work, rather than the branding itself.

“We didn’t want to impose our identity on the art,” said Interbrand executive creative director Sue Daun. “It’s a signature that will sit alongside it, and had to be adaptable to every collection.”

The logo consists of a dot which changes colour, followed by a typographic interpretation of the word “art”. This is complemented by a palette of seven colours, and a framing device, alongside ever-changing imagery taken with permission from the member organisations of the .art domain.

Organisations which have already signed up to have an .art web address include Disney, Google, Facebook – and Beyoncé.

The branding has rolled out online and will continue to roll out on print advertising and communications.

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