63 days of lost time: the calendar visualising the UK’s gender pay gap
Two designers from Pentagram and Redwood London are taking a creative approach to campaigning for gender equality.
- Jenny Brewer
- 9 March 2020
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
4 March is the first day women get paid in 2020 in the UK – a choice day for Pentagram associate partner Alice Murray and creative director at Redwood London Lauren Priestley to launch their passion project, Lost Time. Wanting to visualise the UK’s gender pay gap of 17.3 per cent in the most impactful way, to raise awareness and funds for the cause, the two designers have created a calendar that shows those 63 days a year that women effectively work for free as “invisible”.
The project started when Murray saw a brief from Designers Speak (Up) calling for posters for an exhibition on gender imbalance. “This sparked a discovery about how the gender pay gap could be quantified in days,” Murray explains. After the exhibition, however, the duo – both New Zealand-born, London-based creatives with tons of experience among behemoths of the design industry, Murray as part of Angus Hyland’s team at Pentagram and Priestley currently at Google via Redwood – wanted to do something more. “A calendar is a universal representation of time and serves as a daily reminder,” she continues, “highlighting the time lost with ‘invisible’ days seemed the perfect way to get people’s attention. The gender pay gap conversation is so often talked about in monetary terms, but we wanted to shine a light on the impact of time. After all, time is money.”
The idea started with the 17.3 per cent statistic, and wanting to find the simplest and most effective way of visualising it. “We wanted to create something creatives would want on their studio wall or at home that was visually interesting and also meaningful,” Priestley says. “The message needed to come across immediately, without letting the design distract.”
In their strive for simplicity, the duo looked to the work of an iconic woman of design, Margaret Calvert, and her typeface designed in collaboration with A2 type, New Rail Alphabet – a revival of the British Rail typeface Calvert designed within Kinneir Calvert Associates in the 1960s. And to make it “pack a punch” the designers went for a large B1 format litho print, using spot UV to depict the “lost days”.
All the profits from sales of the calendar are going to organisations empowering female creatives, such as Ladies, Wine & Design, Creative Equals and the aforementioned Designers Speak (Up). Also, to “get the issue in front of those with the power to change it,” if you buy two prints, Murray and Priestley will send another directly to your CEO with an anonymous note.
“Our aim is to not only start conversations but spark action,” says Priestley, “helping to reduce the ‘lost’ days for next year and raise money for nonprofits while we do it. As creatives, we have the power to do this. And, it feels like, this time, people are ready to listen.”