5 important things that happened in design this week

A new crest for Juventus FC, a new logo for Mozilla and the effect of Theresa May’s Brexit plans on creatives – the important design news from the last seven days.

Mozilla unveiled its new branding


Mozilla is best known for its free-to-use internet browser Firefox – but the software company is hoping to make its full range of internet services better known with its new logo.

The company, which has been around for nearly 20 years, unveiled its new branding this week. It is the result of an open-source project which saw design consultancy Johnson Banks work with Mozilla’s creative team to design a series of different logos, before unleashing the public on them to cast their opinions, praise and scrutinise.

The open-source rebrand was a symbolic way of referencing Mozilla’s advocacy for a free-to-use, accessible and safe internet, which it says it has been campaigning for for years.

The new logo turns the “ill” in “Mozilla” into the “://” symbols used within internet urls – a clever way of summarising the point the company is trying to make about not being just a browser, but, as Johnson and Banks co-founder Michael Johnson puts it, “being at the heart of the internet”.

The logo is black and white, with multiple colour and image variations, which aim to put more power in the hands of Mozilla’s community by allowing them to choose a style that suits them.

The new branding began rolling out this week, and will continue to do so throughout 2017.

Juventus FC received a rebrand – with mixed reviews

Juventus Notebook collection - Interbrand Milan

Italian football team Juventus was rebranded by global design consultancy Interbrand this week – and it wasn’t entirely well-received.

The club has swapped out the many graphic elements contained within its old crest – including a bull, a crown, a yellow underline, and the overall oval badge holding them all together – for a “J” symbol created out of black and white stripes. This references the stripes that the team plays in.

Interbrand’s chief strategy officer Manfredi Ricca says that the bold new brand aims to represent Juventus’ “fearlessness” on the football pitch.

Some have certainly praised Interbrand’s decision to move away from the busier crest to a more minimal form, claiming it’s a step away from the old-fashioned nature of sports crests.

Unfortunately, it has not been interpreted as such by everyone. The loyalty and tradition associated with football fans clearly relates to the designs surrounding the game too, with many questioning why the crest had to change at all in the first place:

Some have even questioned its similarity to existing sports brands:

But football fans are notoriously harsh critics, with crest designs over the last few years causing controversy when they were drastically changed – Everton FC’s rebrand in 2013 was so ill-received, the club did a U-turn and decided to scrap the new logo, and design another one, this time in consultation with the club’s fans.

Regardless of whether you love or hate the new Juventus crest, Interbrand’s goal was to create a brand that would work “beyond football” – a minimal symbol that could be translated to merchandise, uniforms and online with ease. The age-old debate is one of heritage, tradition and loyalty versus modernity and accessibility.

Theresa May announced her plans for Brexit – we looked at the effects on designers


Prime minister Theresa May gave a powerful speech this week intended to provoke the idea that Brexit will be a positive thing, enabling Britain to create ties with more overseas countries and become truly “global”, rather than being shackled by Europe.

But her plans to remove Britain from the single market, as well as her vouch for stricter rules around immigration, has stirred worry in the creative industries that there will be less project work for UK-based designers in Europe, less European talent coming into the UK, and exclusion from future European culture funds.

Designers and industry bodies have also challenged the ambiguity of her terms – May suggests “highly-skilled” EU workers will still be able to live and work here. But are skills judged equivalent to salary? If so, the creative community may fall short.

Additionally, she suggests, though we will no longer be giving over billions of pounds per year to the EU, we will still be able to contribute to certain programmes and therefore dip into certain funds. But given her strong focus on the science and innovation industries, creativity may fall short once again.

Read our analysis of May’s plans alongside the views of industry experts and designers here.

PizzaExpress swapped “out-of-touch” interiors for a fresh new look

PizzaExpress Glossop - a "retail" restaurant
PizzaExpress Glossop – a “retail” restaurant

Global pizza chain PizzaExpress has been around for over 50 years, and while previously its competitors may have been seen as the fellow franchised giants of Prezzo and Zizzi, now independents and pop-ups such as Pizza Pilgrims and Franco Manca are growing and catching up.

This week, PizzaExpress unveiled a redesign of its interiors, led by the company’s own creative team alongside design consultancies Creed, Fusion and Quadrant. It looked to challenge the younger brands and put PizzaExpress “back in the running again”, says Rob Weller, PizzaExpress’ head of design.

The redesign includes four different concepts aimed at different demographics – highstreet, heritage, urban and retail. This is a necessary measure for the company, which has more than 400 restaurants in the UK and 40 more overseas.

The most interesting redesign is that made to the urban restaurants, which are situated in areas with independent competitors and aimed at young professionals.

“Chains don’t work in these areas,” says Weller. “We’re aware of what’s going on around us, especially in urban, trendy areas. We’re putting features in to reflect this, and we’re saying we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with brands like Franco Manca.”

The new designs are currently rolling out nationwide, and PizzaExpress has hinted that there will be news of redesigned graphics in restaurants coming soon.

The Design Council appointed a new chief executive

Sarah Weir, CEO at Design Council
Sarah Weir, CEO at Design Council

The Design Council named Sarah Weir as its new CEO this week, set to replace John Mathers who held the role for four years.

Mathers announced his retirement in May last year, before stepping down in November. Weir comes from a career background in the art, design and culture sectors, holding senior roles at organisations such as Arts Council England.

Alongside her experience in the industry, Weir has been chosen for her focus on “social impact and design” in particular, says Design Council chairman Terry Tyrrell.

This fits well with the organisation, which runs programmes and projects predominately based around social and service design. This includes Spark, its product design programme which last year focused on inventions aimed at improving the lives of people with arthritis, and its 2015 Design Economy report, which looked at the positive financial impact of creative industries on the UK.

Weir will take up her new position at the Design Council from April this year.

Got a design story? Email sarah.dawood@centaurmedia.com.

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