Design Week’s 10 biggest stories of 2017

The news that got you talking – we look at the 10 most popular stories on Design Week from the last year.


HSBC rolls out new “simplified” bank card design

This year our most read story was about HSBC’s overhaul of its bank cards, which were given a new look unifying all types – credit, debit and ATM – in over 30 countries.

It was the work of Hong-Kong based consultancy Shift and saw a fractal lion illustration repeated in different colours across the card portfolio.

How to live with a designer without killing them

The neurotic tendencies of designers were laid bare in this book, How to Live with a Designer Without Killing them, which as the title suggests, is a kind of manual for long suffering partners and loved ones.

The fastidious attention to detail and strange habits of designers are identified and explained so that peaceful, understanding lives can be lived by all.

Fanta rolls out rebrand and new bottle design in UK

Fanta took on a new look in March, when an identity designed by Koto appeared on an asymmetric bottle designed by Drinkworks.

Fanta called the redesign “fun” and “vibrant” but not all readers were convinced, with one calling the new look “cheap and amateurish”.

Aldi rebrands to appear more “contemporary”

Budget supermarket Aldi also unveiled a new logo in March as it looked to appear more “contemporary”, but the work by German consultancy Illion Markensocietaet left many readers feeling that the supermarket’s ambitions were at odds with the end result.

While Aldi said it wanted to give the brand a “modern appearance” readers preferred older versions of the identity, with one saying the 1982 version “looked much nicer and more modern”.

Museum of Failure: the exhibition exploring brands’ biggest “f*ck ups”

There’s nothing funnier than someone else’s failure, or at least that’s what the Museum of Failure would have us believe.

Exploring brand’s biggest “fuck ups” the museum opened in Sweden this summer, where Colgate’s foray into the frozen beef lasagne market can be found alongside the short-lived “Teleguide” telephone-computer combo and the rather prescriptive Bic for Her pens, which were on the small side and apparently aimed at women who couldn’t possibly lift an ever-so-heavy regular pen.

Schadenfreude is alive in all of us and there’s plenty of misfortune to revel in here.

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? asks Wellcome Collection’s new exhibition

In August, the Wellcome Collection asked Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? And the answer was yes, it can certainly help to. The medical world is packed with examples of preventative, cautionary and explanatory examples of graphic design saving lives.

Visitors learnt about dual language Hebrew and English drug packaging which came to market in 1986, the same decade that the Don’t Die of Ignorance HIV awareness campaign launched.

There are also some wonderful contemporary case studies including Morag Myerscough’s interiors work in children’s hospitals.

UK passport to redesign under £490 million contract after Brexit

Brexit never left the headlines this year and it was the same on Design Week, where we’ve followed its impact on design and designers.

You were particularly interested in the Government’s announcement that it wants to redesign the UK passport in 2019 in time for Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The £490 million tender is in line with the renewal of British passports, which takes place every five years, according to the Home Office.

One rumour was that the passport might return to its original navy blue colour, used from 1921 to 1988, shortly before the formation of the modern EU in 1993.

Why are fewer students taking on art and design at university?


Evidence from UCAS showed that 17,000 fewer students signed up for creative subjects at university in 2017 compared with 2016.

Many commentators we spoke to believed that this is a direct result of the Government’s education strategy, backing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects over creative subjects.

Paul Ring, a senior lecturer in interior architecture at Northumbria University said that because of the Government’s rhetoric, “18-year olds are wondering about the value of creative subjects.”

Wales given new place branding to “do the country justice”

Cardiff-based consultancy Smörgåsbord was commissioned by the Welsh Government to create a brand that could express the values of Wales’ tourism, business, and food and drink sectors.

Smörgåsbord co-founder Dylan Griffith said his studio looked to create something that was “inherently Welsh with a global outlook”.

General election 2017: a look at UK political campaign designs

Back in May, we looked at the political campaigns being put together by each party ahead of the UK general election.

Messaging varied wildly in the snap election, which was announced on 18 April, giving parties less than two months to work out what they wanted to communicate prior to the 8 June election.

What’s been your favourite Design Week story of 2017? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Andi December 11, 2017 at 8:57 am

    If these are the biggest design stories of 2017, it’s been a very sad year indeed.
    Bring on 2018!

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