5 important things that happened in design this week

From a dramatic, new minimal look for Instagram to the unveiling of new rail station designs, we round up some of the key design events from the last seven days.

Instagram ditched the vintage look


This week, Instagram dropped its well-known, life-like camera icon for a more minimal look – a visual representation of a camera, conveyed through a flat square, with a circle and a dot encased in it.

The new logo also incorporates a gradient of colour, which relives the old logo’s rainbow mark.

Instagram’s partner apps Hyperlapse, Layout and Boomerang have also incorporated the new visual identity, featuring flat graphics of the same style with the same colour gradient seeping over them.

Instagram says the new look has been applied with the aim of “modernising” the brand to bring it more in-line with today’s social media community, as well as creating “unity” across all the different apps.

But not everyone was happy to see the classic logo removed – one Design Week reader describes it as “the life and soul of a retro brand reduced to a gradient of colour”, and adds that the authenticity of Instagram’s brand, which reminded him of “days of Polaroid cameras and the dark room”, has now disappeared.

Station designs are revealed for a new tube line

Hanover Square ticket hall
Hanover Square ticket hall

The London Underground map will be gaining a purple addition to its lines, as plans are revealed for the new Elizabeth Line, set to open in 2018.

The new tube and overground line, a £14.8 billion Crossrail project, will spread across London and the south east, between Reading and Shenfield.

Crossrail has now unveiled visualisations of the stations forming part of the line, which show “consistent” architectural forms and materials that aim to give passengers “a sense of familiarity right across the route”, says Crossrail.

But individual design details will be added to each station, to give each one a “sense of character”, the company adds.

The line will total 40 stations, with 10 new ones and 30 stations upgraded. Station designs are being completed by various architects, and permanent works of art will also be scattered across the network.

Cigarette packets lose their individual traits

Box cigarettes isolated on a white

It’s been confirmed that branding will disappear from cigarette packets by the end of this month, after the biggest European Court rejected a legal challenge to stop it happening this week.

Tobacco giants British Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris International challenged the law to remove branding, which was passed in Parliament in 2015. But the EU Court of Justice has upheld the law in the interest of “protecting consumers against the risks associated with tobacco use”.

The new boxes will be cuboid shaped, carry health warnings with text and a real-life photograph, and will contain at least 20 cigarettes, which are less accessible to young consumers than smaller, cheaper packets, says the court.

The EU Court also hopes that getting rid of “unusual” packaging will reduce the “coolness or fun factor” of buying cigarettes.

BBC announced it was looking for designers


BBC is looking for design consultancies to join a new digital services roster that will work on projects over the course of four years.

It will take on at least five consultancies, which will then compete to work on projects including user experience and design, games, website building and support. They will be spread across departments including News, Sport, Weather, Radio and Music and iPlayer.

If you’re keen to apply, the deadline for applications is 27 June. More information can be viewed here: www.eventbrite.co.uk.

An exhibition opens on Italian design icon Olivetti

Olivetti Showroom, Barcelona – Spain, designed by BBPR (1965). Photo: F. Català Roca. Courtesy of Navone Associati, Milan
Olivetti Showroom, Barcelona – Spain, designed by BBPR (1965). Photo: F. Català Roca. Courtesy of Navone Associati, Milan

Italian manufacturer Olivetti was best known for its typewriter designs in the early 20th century – now, London’s ICA will hold an exhibition looking at some of the company’s best known designs.

Olivetti: Beyond Form and Function will showcase everything from product to graphic and interior design – a “design ethos that extended beyond its products”, says the gallery.

The exhibition is open from 25 May – 17 July at the ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y.

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