Designworks chief executive Sven Baker was at good odds to get one of his designs through to the final four of the Flag Consideration Project given he had five make the first cut. Alas, it was not to be, and after the decision was announced a few days ago, there’s been no shortage of commentary about the chosen options, with ‘lost opportunity’ being the prevailing theme among the design community and the opinionated folk of social media. But rather than wallow in self-pity at the injustice of it all, he decided to make the best of a bad situation. And what better way to drown a few design-related sorrows than with a nice vintage.
Browsing: Sven Baker
The re-design of the New Zealand flag has been a source of vigorous debate. New Zealanders have questioned whether we can afford the $26 million when so many other social systems need attention. Other New Zealanders have wondered whether we ought to redesign it at all when our forefathers fought and died under the flag while others think the change is long past due and we ought to rid ourselves of the Union Jack for another emblem more befitting of our current identity. Then of course there’s the design perspective. Some have questioned whether sourcing designs from the public was the way to go and have wondered whether the panel has enough design nous to make the right decision. We asked Designworks owner Sven Baker who had five designs make the long-list what he thinks and also had a chat to panel member and Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive Nicky Bell to see what the panel thinks a good flag should represent.
In an effort to fill a demand for digital, UX and motion content in the Wellington market, STW-owned Designworks has acquired 100 percent of 15-strong design and digital communications agency The Church, making it the region’s largest strategic brand and multi-disciplinary design practice, with around 130 staff across its five offices. Plus: Designworks’ big regional accolades and Sven Baker’s new STW role.
Telecom and the MED released a document on Tuesday about its plan to ‘demerge’ and split into two separate entities—the network division Chorus and the retail arm at this stage colloquially known as the ‘New Telecom’—as part of the conditions imposed by the government after its successful bid to build the Ultra Fast Broadband network. And the split, which still requires shareholder and bondholder approval, has led to a fresh round of speculation that it could be a catalyst for changes to its agency roster and might spell the end of Kevin Roberts’ position on the Telecom board.
Design agency Designworks looks to be going from strength to strength. Its Skycouch for Air New Zealand has picked up a finalist nomination at the Australian International Design Awards and, in line with Australian-orientated news, the agency has just announced it will open its first Australian office. With offices already in Auckland and Wellington, the agency last year also expanded to set up shop in Christchurch.
There was plenty of StopPress discussion after Designworks’ chief executive Sven Baker offered some suggestions for ways the design industry could help Christchurch recover from the quake—and not long after he narrowly avoided falling victim to it himself. Now Designworks and Jay Wester, owner of plumbing and heating supplier Leap Australasia Ltd, have launched the first initiative to come out of those discussions, a registered trust called letsfixit.org.nz that aims to get Christchurch’s in-home domestic water services re-connected pronto. And according to Baker, it’s already working, with the first volunteer plumbers expected to be on the ground in Christchurch in the next few days.
We have to mobilise the New Zealand design community around the relief and rebuild efforts in Christchurch. This means we have to coordinate our own meaningful industry response. We have an important role to play in assisting both now and throughout the rebuilding of a shattered city. And I think this can work at two levels.
It wasn’t too long ago that Designworks – and, possibly, the entire design community – was celebrating a big win at the recent 2010 Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards. And now it’s got some more positive news to crow about, with a new branch set to open in Christchurch.