5 important things that happened in design this week

We celebrated the life of Jon Daniel and a new report found designers “work for free on Fridays” – the news from the last seven days.

We remembered the life of the late Jon Daniel

Jon Daniel, designer, political activist and long-time Design Week columnist, sadly died this month aged 51.

He was known to Design Week readers and the design community as a champion for black creatives and ethnic diversity, and through his Four Corners column, showcased a talented and varied range of designers of African origin.

We looked back on his life this week, and celebrated the work he did not only as an artist, but also socially and politically. His ad campaign encouraging black and ethnic minority (BME) groups to vote in the 1997 General Election is just one example of how he reached out to communities.

Read our full piece dedicated to Jon’s life and work here.


A new report found designers “work for free” one day a week

Burning the midnight oil and slogging it overtime are not concepts unknown to designers. Late night shifts fuelled by pizza and energy drinks are anecdotally known to be common when a pitch or project deadline looms.

The Design Business Association’s (DBA) annual survey was published this week, confirming that the majority of designers working in a studio are putting in extra hours for no return.

The survey compiles data submitted by 158 design consultancies, and includes information such as employee salaries, client fees, studio income and employee benefits.

It also looks at utilisation and recovery rates, which are based on the amount of profits a studio makes compared to its outgoing costs, such as employees’ salaries.

The research found that the average recovery rate is 78%, meaning one fifth of employees’ time is not being billed to clients.

More positively, the report also found that confidence levels are up across the design industry, with over half of studios surveyed expecting to employ more staff over the next 12 months, and two thirds expecting a rise in income for their business.

The report is only available in full for DBA members, but read our full analysis here.


An exhibition opened exploring data, privacy and the internet

Privacy is no longer a “social norm”, according to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; but do we realise how much information about ourselves we are putting out to the world, and handing over to huge corporations?

A new exhibition called The Glass Room opened this week, exploring personal data, our online lives and the all-encompassing nature of the internet.

Curated by technology organisations Mozilla and Tactical Tech, the exhibition space and name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to transparency, with interiors designed to replicate a clinical, white-spaced Apple retail store.

It features over 40 different exhibits and artworks, and is separated into four sections that demonstrate how the internet and tech innovations have both liberated our lives, and infringed upon them.

A Data Detox Kit is also available for all visitors to take away for free, which aims to raise people’s awareness about how much they share about themselves online, and also provide tips on how to limit this if they would like.

The Glass Room runs until 12 November at 69-71 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0ND. Entry is free. For more information, head to the site.


A programme teaching kids about craft and tech launched

Royal Academy, © Roy Matthews

The creative industries have long criticised the Government’s attitude to art and design subjects, with academics, professionals and organisations claiming that a focus on science and maths is devaluing the arts.

The Crafts Council aims to combat this issue in a proactive way, with its initiative Make:Shift:Do; a two-day series of workshops across the country, which show kids how creativity and science can work together.

The hands-on workshops take place this week and are freely available to any school class, family or child who would like to participate.

Fun activities include drawing a picture, then watching as a digital machine embroiders it, followed by a chance to learn how to sew, and making a robot out of junk then coding it so that it moves.

The programme is in its third year and aims to open up creative opportunities to those from “deprived backgrounds”, says Zoe Dennington, learning and participation manager at Crafts Council, as well as educate teachers and families about the value of such subjects.

“There’s been an absolute defamation of craft and tech at secondary schools,” she says. “But when you look at the benefits on children’s wellbeing and their learning, it is worth investing in.”

Make:Shift:Do runs 27-28 October 2017 across the country. Entry to most workshops is free. For more info, head to the Crafts Council site.


We looked back at the forgotten female designers from history

It was Nat Maher, managing director at consultancy Good, who pointed out in a column for Design Week earlier this year that if you Google “famous graphic designers”, you’ll see just five women appear out of 50 people.

There are a handful of female designers well known to the public, namely the Paula Schers and the Ray Eames – but this is nothing compared to the endless list of male designers and architects who receive widespread acknowledgement.

For this reason, the London Transport Museum opened an exhibition earlier this month celebrating the abundance of female graphic designers from history who have created posters for the organisation but who have been “criminally neglected”, says curator David Bownes.

We took this opportunity to ask designers which women in the industry have not received the recognition they deserve, with names such as Dorrit Dekk, Lella Vignelli and Dorothy Wright Liebes popping up.

Additionally, our contributors highlight that it is not just unknown individuals from history that is the issue. Erika Clegg, co-founder at Spring, makes the point that female fashion designers are well-known, whereas in other disciplines, such as design for health, women are completely unknown. Jack Renwick, founder at Jack Renwick Studio, also provides an extensive list of current female designers she admires, making the point that we should be celebrating the present, not the past, to stop the same problem happening again.

Read our piece in full here.


Got a design story? Get in touch sarah.dawood@centaurmedia.com.

Latest articles