Design Week’s Most Popular Long Reads of 2022

In 2022, designers stepped up to support the people in Ukraine, studios sought B-Corp status, and the Elizabeth Line design was finally revealed.

As the war in Ukraine nears its 300the day, having spanned most of 2022, two articles looking at how designers in Ukraine have been supporting their country and raising awareness were of continuing interest to Design Week readers.

The first was from kyiv-based Katerina Korlevtseva, who shared her own experience and the actions of designers in Ukraine. She urged that silence was not possible and shared posters created by other Ukrainian designers. She added that the most useful messages “are not with doves and calls for peace but calls to make donations.”

The second article highlighted more projects by designers who have been creating motivational material, communications designed to combat misinformation, as well as work calling on international clients to stop working with Russia. Some projects, designer Iliya Pavlov said, were “too beautiful for what’s going on.”

Given the long wait for the Crossrail, or Elizabeth Line as it was renamed to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it’s no surprise that the designers were eager to read the story behind its design.

The new line, which TfL claimed to be “one of the world’s most complex digital railways”, features 42km of new tunnels, 7m tonnes of excavated material and arrived three and a half years late at a total cost of around of £19 billion.

We look at the ‘distinctiveness’ of its stations designed by different architects and their new features such as platform edge screens and newly designed seats. The trains themselves feature interconnected carriages, multi-use spaces and “smart lighting and temperature control”, with interiors by Barber & Osgerby and new seat carpeting by Wallace Sewell.

A number of notable public artworks were also unveiled, from artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Conrad Shawcross.

For the broader branding of the new line, its typeface is Johnston100, Monotype’s modification to that used by TfL for over a century, and its color palette comprises Elizabeth Line Purple, TfL Blue and White, then Legible London Blue and magenta.

At the start of Pride month – and celebrating 50the UK Pride Anniversary – We look at the history of the rainbow Pride flag and its many permutations since it was first designed in the late 1970s.

Gay and drag artist Gilbert Baker came up with the design in 1978 when asked by LGBT activist Harvey Milk to create a new symbol for the gay community. Baker said of the use of a rainbow, “for me, it was the only thing that could really express our diversity and beauty and joy.” Each of the colors on the flag had specific meanings, but the modified rainbow we recognize in the flag today arose after difficulties getting some of its bright colors into mass production.

We then look at how the symbol has grown and adapted over time, with new versions modified to recognize trans and intersex communities and people living with HIV/AIDS.

In recent years there have been many examples of products and brands designed to celebrate Pride, but there is also a growing problem of “rainwashing”, which has seen brands benefit from associating with LGBTQ communities without giving anything meaningful to them. change.

As part of our in-house design teams series, we spoke with a LEGO team designer to find out how their sets are designed, as well as the hiring process, how teams are structured, and how the design brief differs for designed products. for different ages.

Luis Gomez, a Colombian product designer at LEGO, gave an insight into the process, which actually involves a lot of building things out of big boxes of LEGO bricks, “like a kid playing at home.” But he also likens the process to “sculpting with bricks” and explains that the “complexity” of the projects means that often one designer is responsible for each set.

Further behind-the-curtain peeks reveal that HQ contains a library of every existing LEGO brick, teams go on group trips for inspiration from specific locations, and new sets are tested by local kids and robots alike.

In February we reported on the Super Bowl halftime show designed by Es Devlin for a lineup of Dr Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lemar.

To accommodate so many different stars, Devlin segmented the set into a series of buildings that were linked together as a “Composite Compton Street,” referencing the home of West Coast rap. After a meeting with Dr. Dre, Devlin reports that she was particularly drawn to his installation pieces, over his previous set designs and was “interested in approaching the Super Bowl project as both a narrative art installation and a celebratory performance.” “, said.

The buildings were envisioned more like an illuminated museum piece, each with a particular meaning to the performers, and each used in different ways during the 14-minute performance. Snoop Dogg began on the roof of a bungalow-style Compton home commonly found in the South Los Angeles area and Eminem began his “courtroom” performance before heading out.

Super Bowl “veteran” production designer Bruce Rogers made it possible for the set to “appear in eight minutes and disappear in six minutes, an immense challenge that requires military precision and team choreography,” Devlin said.

In January, we took a look at how retail designers combine interior and interactive design to create compelling brand experiences.

In Berlin, visitors to the M&M store can create a virtual version of themselves made up of individual M&M candies. Other city-inspired features include an exhibition drawing of street art at the East Side Gallery, a recreation of an M-Bahn carriage sticking out of a wall, and interactive “disco pods.” Ashley Randolph, Senior 3D Designer at Landor & Fitch, said, “We tried to be as inventive as we could in the shop.”

Lavazza’s first store outside of Italy hoped to bridge British and Italian coffee culture, explains Mirko Cerami of Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The design took cues from beans: a coffee shop by architect Carlo Ratti is shaped like a coffee bean and uses coffee as a material, while the shop also features a 700-bean chandelier. Interactive elements include an AR game where Londoners can search for hidden virtual coffee cups around the city and an immersive tasting area that projects tasting notes onto the ceiling.

Meanwhile, Samsung KX sought to make the spirit of the brand “fun and tangible,” explained Andrea Ferrara-Forbes, Samsung’s director of premium retail. In the space, designed with Brinkworth, visitors can browse products, try new technology or attend workshops.

Ten years after the London 2012 Olympic Games, we spoke to Wolff Olins about an identity that drew much criticism at the time of its launch.

While it was always going to be a time when the studio took center stage, as global CEO Sairah Ashman told us: “In half an hour, [the studio’s] the website crashed. It was just the beginning of a reaction so extreme that some of its designers had to be rehoused.”

A decade later, Wolff Olins now describes the colourful, jagged logo as “bold, energetic and dissonant, reflecting London’s modern, urban edge”. The identity as a whole eschewed obvious London iconography in favor of seeking to engage with a young crowd and showcase accessibility, to reflect what senior designer Patrick Cox called “my beautiful, wayward London.”

Ashman also recalls the unique process of crafting an Olympic identity: working secretly beforehand, only going out for meals, and also not being able to “grab a mic” in the chaotic aftermath. Yet for all the hype, Ashman adds that clients often “want an Olympiad” and several designers joined the studio on the back of the job.

In August, we spoke to some of the growing number of design studios becoming B Corps about what certification means for design.

B Corp status is awarded to for-profit companies that meet “high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency in factors ranging from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and materials.” input”. The certification’s emphasis on sustainability, diversity and well-being is aligned with changing attitudes within the design industry, but its process is challenging, with most applicants failing the Impact Assessment B test the first time. time.

Nice and Serious founder Tom Tapper called the assessment “revealing” but commented that the certification is useful for filtering out agencies that “are genuinely committed to creating positive change, from those that display performative purpose.” .

Kingdom and Sparrow found that the process helped them apply more formal policies for their team, and We Made That found that the framework helped focus hard-to-define issues. How&How also reported that the B Corp certification was positive for both potential employees and customers.

However, the process is easier for younger studios with forward-thinking clients. As Tapper adds, “No matter how many charity projects an agency does, if they’re still working for destructive clients (like oil), they’re making the world a worse place.”

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