Dalton Maag has designed a font that will compete with ’over-hyped’ Helvetica. Which design icon would you like to design a challenger for, and why?

Until I saw the new design of Pepsi I would have said ’the Pepsi icon’. Now I have seen it I would have to say ’the Pepsi icon’. I have no issue with the minimal font and simple blue can, but the new icon appears to me like a ’sail at sunset’ motif that would suit a yachting outerwear brand. Come on Rola Cola, let’s step up and give Pepsi a run for its money.

Simon Forster, Creative director, Robot Food

It would have to be the Smiley. It’s registered in more than 100 countries and makes stupid amounts of money from licensing. It has been used everywhere – in ad campaigns, on Walmart uniforms, as a spoof in Hollywood films (Forrest Gump) – and it is still making a mark as a sign-off option in most instant messaging applications. All that, and if I were to draw a circle, two ovals and a smiley mouth, everyone would know what it was. Yep, I would like to design a successful challenger for that.

Neil Svensen, Chief executive, Rufus Leonard

The wheel. You see it everywhere and essentially it’s the same design that has been a-round forever. Functionally, they’re perfectly acceptable, of course, but the potential is there for the wheel to be moved on a bit. Ironically, I have myself unwittingly attempted to reinvent it, with varying degrees of success.

Mickey Stretton, Founder, Utile & Beau

The telephone box, an icon the mobile phone has almost made redundant. It’s more often used as a pissoir or for specialist advertising, but could be reinvented as a space to use your mobile away from the noisy street. You would never have to be part of others’ conversations. Comfy seating, weather protection, wireless charging and a perfect signal – essential. Probably better if mobile. That’s a car, then.

Philip Dolman, Director, Studio DB

A design is iconic because it has stood the test of time, suggesting that it doesn’t need to be redesigned or challenged. A design icon rises above fashion trends. It is sometimes necessary to challenge it, but not always possible to better it. Other reasons may be functional, or following advances that undermine it. The Brionvega TS522 radio is beautiful, but redundant (but I would still like one).

Adrian Wright, Partner, Design Wright

Latest articles