5 important things that happened in design this week

From a new look for Birkbeck, University of London to the upcoming 12-sided £1 coin – we round up the important design news from the last seven days.

Birkbeck, University of London revealed a new visual identity


A group of Pentagram partners helped to transform the look of Birkbeck, University of London this week.

Domenic Lippa refreshed the logo, inverting its colours and making it more suitable for online use, he says, while Naresh Ramchandani created a new ad campaign, and both helped to create a new suite of colours, symbols and imagery.

A new website is also currently being designed by Luke Powell and Jody Hudson-Powell, set to launch later this year.

Lippa wanted to bring a sense of fun and frivolity to the university’s look, drawing out symbols from its crest, such as the owl and candles, and using them as iconography across more “light-hearted” touchpoints, such as t-shirts and tote bags.

“You don’t want everything as formal and serious,” he says. “University is about learning but also about life lessons and enjoying things.”

University rebrands have proved to be treacherous ground for designers, who have previously suffered a hotbed of scrutiny from students damning new logos as damaging to a university’s rebrand and reputation.

For this reason, Lippa says that Pentagram consulted with students and staff thoroughly, and focused on the surrounding visual assets rather than overhauling the logo itself, which he describes as the university’s “recognisable centrepiece”.

The university was founded in 1823, and offers evening higher education courses to adults.

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opened


CES opened its 50th edition this week, unveiling the latest tech and product launches, many of which prove the increasing (and perhaps scary) capabilities of automated robots.

From self-driving cars and connected home fridges, to wearable robotic exoskeletons which could transform the lives of patients with mobility problems, this year’s tech show demonstrates how connected home products could be becoming a bigger part of our lives over the next few years.

Read our full CES 2017 round-up here.

The new £1-coin design was revealed


The new 12-sided one-pound coin design was revealed this week, ditching the classic circle for a more unusual dodecagon instead.

It has been developed by The Royal Mint’s in-house design team, and is set to enter nationwide circulation at the end of March.

The new one-pound coin design is the first to be introduced in over 30 years, and aims to be harder to counterfeit than previous coins, with a hologram image, micro-lettering on the inside rim and milled edges.

All existing one-pound coins will need to be used up in shops quickly – they will lose their legal tender status from 15 October of this year.

Creatives featured in the New Year honours list 2017

David Adjaye, © Ed Reeve
David Adjaye, © Ed Reeve

The New Year honours list was announced this week, with architect David Adjaye and Conde Nast artistic director Anna Wintour making the cut.

Adjaye has been knighted, while Wintour has become a dame, with the prior praised as “one of the leading architects of his generation” and the latter as a “tireless advocate” for established and emerging designers.

Other creatives to receive awards include Richard Burdett, professor of architecture and urban studies at the London School of Economics, fashion accessories designer Anya Hindmarch and costume designer Jenny Beavan.

Check out the full list of New Year Honours 2017 here.

Design Week looked ahead to the next year of design


Following on from our round-ups of design projects taking place over 2016, we started a new series this week speaking to designers about how they felt the industry would change over the next week.

Brand Union executive creative director Paul Cardwell predicts a resurgence of retro in branding design, while The Beautiful Meme creative director Ben Haworth thinks consultancies will claim back the idea of having a particular “style”.

Nissen Richards Studio director Pippa Nissen predicts more exhibition designers will embrace “immersive” tech, to create interesting sound and film experiences for visitors.

Head to our Design in 2017 series page to read their responses in full, and look out for more over the coming weeks.

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