This year, we indulge the art of the chocolatier in the Hot 50. Chocolate is a commodity with a high desirability factor. It is creative, luxurious, rich and decadent, but most importantly it’s a must-have for turning frowns into smiles.
Its appearance in the Hot 50 may seem a bit of a folly, but chocolate has created opportunities in design. Last year saw Thorntons implement a new Caulder Moore-designed store concept across five outlets, with plans for a national roll-out this year. Caulder Moore previously worked on retail and brand design aspects for chocolate retailing concepts Chocolat Chocolat and luxury brand Hotel Chocolat.
Chocolate is a product of fantasy and innocence, says Pure Equator director David Rogers, who last year embarked on an ambitious project to create his own chocolate brand, My World. This children’s lifestyle brand, made by Fairtrade-listed Browns, hit the shelves of Waitrose this month.
Chocolate’s sweet success is not just down to its taste, but also its packaging. Like books, the product is judged by its cover. The colourful, vibrant, simple or wacky wrapper chosen by the consumer is part of the pleasure. Brandopus resuscitated the chocolate range Pharmacy after a complaint by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, rebranded it as Dr Indulgence and built on its quirkiness with a chocolate first-aid kit.
Even Grace Jones has stepped on to the chocolate bandwagon for her latest album, Hurricane, with a cover featuring chocolate moulded into life-sized replicas of herself.
So whether it is simply a little piece of heaven, or used for its ‘medicinal’ qualities, it appears that chocolate and creativity go hand in hand.
For the past couple of years, the Hot 50 selectors have debated if it is the right time to honour Beverley Churchill, such is the respect for the one-time Tesco marketing director. This year, it is, given the groundbreaking work she has achieved as brand director at property developer Liberty International Capital & Counties to regenerate London’s Covent Garden.
Churchill is steeped in retail. At Tesco, she took the bold move – now the stuff of legend – to bring in Wolff Olins to create own-brand packs, which was not part of the identity giant’s repertoire. She went on to work at Selfridges when the visionary Vittorio Radice was managing director, and we owe festivals such as the store’s Brazilian extravaganza very much to her.
She left around the time Radice quit for a short sojourn at Marks & Spencer and spent a brief, but colourful spell at BhS working with its wilful master Philip Green. She went on to advise venture capitalists on investments in ‘sustainable’ design projects, among other things. One of those things was Covent Garden.
At Covent Garden, she is working with developer Capital & Counties, architect Kohn Pedersen Fox and the US-based Rockwell Group to repurpose the retail complex and reconnect it with Londoners in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
Professor David Crow:
Professor David Crow could never be accused of apathy. He makes it on to this years list as a proactive graphic designer, author, typographer and educationalist, among other things. Heading the School of Design at Manchester Metropolitan University, Crow leads a department of 52 permanent staff with many visiting associate lecturers, and around 1200 students.
Crow is in the middle of redeveloping the design faculty at the university. He renamed the design school the Manchester School of Art to recognise its lengthy heritage as it reached its centenary year in 2008.
He joined MMU after moving from Liverpool John Moores University, where he was appointed Head of Graphic Arts in 1995. Before that, he was a senior lecturer in graphic design at University College Salford.
MMU is in his blood. As a former student of the communication media degree, he returned there in the early 1990s to complete an MA in communication design, focusing on unofficial visual language systems.
Even so, he has real life experience, having worked on various projects in London before becoming senior designer at Island Records
Crow’s research speciality is experimental typography, and as a practising artist he has produced and exhibited work worldwide. The type designer has been a typeboard member at Fontshop for many years, but recently gave this up.
He has written several books about graphic design and communication. His first book, Visible Signs, was published in 2003, and his latest, Left to Right, came out last year.
Mike Dempsey has made this listing before, largely on the strength of his role as Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry. An illustrious career as a creative force in graphic design, mainly as co-founder of CDT Design (which was originally known as Carroll Dempsey & Thirkell), has been peppered with badges of high office such as D&AD President and RDI Master, and Dempsey has espoused them with characteristic energy and enthusiasm.
Known for cultural projects such as the English National Opera identity and a host of Millennium stamps for Royal Mail, Dempsey left CDT Design in the capable hands of Neil Walker at the end of 2007 and set up on his own as Studio Dempsey.
His aim was, as always, to create great work, but it was also to focus on projects that engage him personally and make a significant difference to humanity.
The most poignant example of this to date is the work for the Helen Bamber Foundation, which focuses on victims of sex trafficking. Working with writer Tom Lynham and illustrator Laura Carlin, he has created an identity that promotes the charity with great sensitivity.
We can expect more of this as Dempsey enters his second year as a sole trader at Studio Dempsey. We also look to him to do great things in his new role as visual advisor to the Design Council.
Design Against Crime:
While crime has reduced in the past decade, technology and society has evolved, creating new crime challenges. Design, therefore, has an important role to play in preventing crime and reducing criminal activity.
Design Against Crime is an initiative that was first launched in 1999. The Design Against Crime Research Centre was set up in 2001 by director Dr Lorraine Gamman. It received designation status in July 2005, becoming permanently based at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. DAC aims to challenge designers into creating products, services and environments that factor security into their work and make it visually pleasing, as well as crime-proof.
DAC is independently funded, but is recognised worldwide. The Australian government is, for example, working with a local design school, investing £1.4m into a similar programme, following the DAC initiative.
In a separate move, the Home Office and the Design Council are collaborating on the Designing Out Crime programme. In November 2008, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith agreed £1.6m backing for the Design and Technology Alliance, headed by Sebastian Conran, to develop innovative design solutions against crime over the next three years.
The programme breaks down into five areas: reducing bullying in schools, led by Sir John Sorrell; making ‘hot’ products more crime-proof, led by Joe McGeehan, director of the Centre for Communications Research at Bristol University; embedding crime-reducing approaches to housing, led by forensic psychologist Ken Pease; reducing alcohol-related crime, led by the Royal College of Art’s Professor Jeremy Myerson; and minimising crime against businesses, led by Gamman.