5 important things that happened in design this week

From recruitment freezes following Brexit to preparation for a debate on the GCSE EBacc curriculum, we round up some of the key design events from the last seven days.

Small businesses looked to freeze recruitment and relocate abroad following Brexit

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Following the EU referendum result last week, which saw the majority of the UK electorate vote to leave the EU, chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne attempted to reassure business owners in a speech.

He said: “To companies large and small I would say this: the British economy is fundamentally strong, we are highly competitive and we are open for business.”

But business organisation the Institute of Directors (IOD) surveyed 1000 of its members following Brexit, and 24% said they were planning to freeze recruitment, 5% said they would have to make redundancies and 2% said they were considering moving business outside of the UK.

IOD director general Simon Walker said: “A majority of business leaders think the vote for Brexit is bad for them, and as a result plans for investment and hiring are being put on hold or scaled back.”

Designers spoke about how Brexit would affect their industry

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52% of the UK electorate voted to leave the EU last week in a landmark political event for the nation. Last week, we spoke to a series of designers, creative organisations and design business professionals about what this could mean for small businesses and the creative industries.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of designers appear to be pro-EU – our Design Week poll showed 70% of those surveyed were in favour of staying within the EU.

Concerns cited were about restrictions on talent sourcing from other countries, copyright and registration laws, and eligibility for EU funding.

However, other designers said that leaving could also provide more freedom over budgets for small businesses, with reductions in “red tape”.

MPs prepared to debate the exclusion of arts subjects from the EBacc curriculum

Close up of a designer working on a project
Close up of a designer working on a project

On 4 July, there will be a Parliamentary debate about the EBacc curriculum, which is to be made compulsory for GCSE students from September.

The EBacc – English Baccalaureate – is comprised of English, maths, science, a language and a humanity, and excludes creative and art subjects.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition to reject the qualification’s format, with the petition stating that the exclusion of subjects such as art, music and drama was “limiting, short sighted and cruel”.

Last week, a survey was also taken by design graduates taking part in degree show New Designers, which showed that 85% of those surveyed studied an arts or design subject at GCSE. 49% also said they would not be pursuing a career in the industries if they had not taken an arts subject for GCSE.

Design Council appointed a new chairman

The Design Council's new chairman, Terry Tyrrell, who comes from consultancy Brand Union
The Design Council’s new chairman, Terry Tyrrell, who comes from consultancy Brand Union

This week, the organisation announced it had appointed Terry Tyrrell as its chairman.

Tyrrell will join from his current role as chairman at Brand Union, the WPP-owned design consultancy he co-founded in 1976.

He takes over from Martin Temple, who has been in the chairman role at the Design Council for five years, and is moving on to a new role as chairman at the Health and Safety Executive Board (HSE).

Tyrrell said: “Our aim, as we move forward under a new strategic plan, is to ensure that design receives the recognition it deserves.”

The Kindle updated its page layouts to read more like a real book

Kindle - Black and White

This week, Amazon announced it had redesigned its e-reader Kindle, with a “thinner, lighter” design, twice as much memory space and built-in Bluetooth audio support to help visually impaired users.

Alongside this, the e-reader also incorporates two new typefaces, Bookerly and Ember, created by type foundry Dalton Maag.

The typeface changes come alongside layout changes that imitate a paperback’s style, such as improved text justification, drop caps, kerning and image positioning.

Type expert Erik Spiekerman said that while the Bookerly typeface is “lovely and appropriate”, it is “nothing new for book designers”.

He said: “A page on a Kindle has finally almost achieved the look we’ve had in books for 500 years – but it still runs out of batteries, cannot be read in bright light and won’t survive a fall.”

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