5 important things that happened in design this week

The majority of clients still expect designers to free pitch, a new book of 500 influential designs is released, and Pentagram creates branding for Pink Floyd Records – the news from the last seven days.

We discovered that most clients expect designers to free pitch

Unpaid internships in the creative industries are nothing new, but it was surprising to learn this week that 70% of clients still expect experienced designers to put together professional project pitches without being paid.

The findings come from the newly-released What Clients Think 2017 report, conducted by advice consultancy Up to the Light in association with the Design Business Association (DBA).

While the majority don’t expect to pay for pitches, the research also shows that 90% see design as important to their brand – showing a strange contrast in how clients value design compared to how much they think it is worth.

The findings have sparked an outpour of opinion from our readers, with some admitting that this has “sadly become the norm”, while others claim unpaid work is “self-inflicted”, adding that “it’s complete madness” for designers to turn up to a pitch with multiple, fully-formed ideas.

The research includes interviews with 455 clients, and also shows that 80% think their design consultancy is expensive, and 95% do not give their hired designers space in the “boardroom”, aka contact and discussion time with client-side CEOs.

Read the What Clients Think 2017 report in full here.

We delved into “500 of the most notable designs of all time”

Publisher Phaidon has just released a new book looking at graphic designs from all over the world, taking on the tricky task of whittling this down to 500 projects.

Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter features everything from Shepard Fairey’s 2008 campaign poster for Barack Obama, through to Esquire magazine front covers from the 1960s and the classic I heart NY logo, designed by Milton Glaser.

We spoke to Phaidon’s editorial director Emilia Terragni this week about how you go about curating a book which encompasses the history of design. She tells us that the publisher worked with designers, design critics and design enthusiasts to make their decisions – and to avoid “derivative” projects.

The structure of the book is “neither chronological nor alphabetical”, she says, but instead pairs together similar projects based on anything from shape and colour to concept.

Graphic: 500 designs that Matter is available now via Phaidon’s webite.

Pentagram drew inspiration from the past to create Pink Floyd Records

A retrospective exhibition on legendary Pink Floyd is due to open at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum in May – and in the lead-up, the band has formed its own self-named record label.

The visual identity for Pink Floyd Records has been designed by Pentagram partner Harry Pearce, and draws inspiration from the record cover of 1977 album Animals, alongside a photo of the band’s old tour van.

“Design takes a backseat,” Pearce tells us, as he explains that the white stripe plastered across a black tour van has become a “lovely graphic tool”, which he has used across the visual identity, including for a new 27-disc box set of the band’s work.

“We wanted to do what was best for the project, rather than put our stamp on it,” Pearce says. But readers insist that “Pearce is being modest”, with another dismissing his “backseat” claim with “Looks to me like design was in the frontseat and probably driving…”

Read our full interview with Pearce here.

New, budget airline Level was revealed – alongside its very simple branding

Budget airlines are known for their cheap and cheerful branding, often to their benefit – it’s difficult to dissociate that bright orange from Easyjet, for instance.

This week, new budget airline Level was revealed, with the visual identity completed by Brand Union. Its point of difference is that it offers long-haul flights, rivalling some of the other budget brands which only cater for short-haul.

Brand Union describes its branding as “minimalist”. The black, sans-serif, all-caps logotype accompanied by a blue and green square certainly shows a light touch.

But while the consultancy was going for a stripped-back approach to reflect the “affordable” nature of the brand, one reader prefers the term “underwhelming”.

Level will launch in June 2017 with flights from Barcelona to destinations such as Los Angeles and Buenos Aires.

A new wireless speaker was launched with a greater social purpose

We’ve seen air purifiers with the capacity to measure air quality, and connected home hubs with the ability to do everything from turn off light switches to adjust heating.

But Beacon is a new product that brings together wellbeing with entertainment, a combination we’re yet to see much of in the connected home market.

The device is a wireless speaker designed by Living Labs, which can measure air quality based on the number of harmful particles in the air, such as sulphur, benzene and carbon dioxide.

It can also generate artificial sunlight and plays a range of frequency sounds such as white noise and soundscapes, which aim to help regulate the user’s sleep and make them more calm, according to Living Labs.

It does, of course, also function as a regular music player, and can be connected to Bluetooth via a user’s mobile phone, and an accompanying app.

Beacon is currently a crowdfunding project, and needs to reach a target of £60,000 by next month to go into production.

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