Civil Service critics fail to see the big picture

Credit is surely due to the Design Council and design management consultant Jane Priestman for Her Majesty’s Treasury’s move towards a new, less formal identity (see News, page 3). It is one of the Government departments which collaborated with Priestman, working under the auspices of the council, to find more effective design management systems for the Civil Service in terms of communication and cost.

Treasury officials have stressed that the department is currently only considering proposals that would see it drop its current lion and unicorn coat of arms, along with the HM in its title. It has also said that any change to its marque will see a low-key launch. Yet already the Government’s opponents are up in arms about the cost to the public such an exercise might incur. In last weekend’s Independent on Sunday, Conservative Party head of campaigns John Redwood said the move “shows a monumental waste of money and the wrong priorities” and we can, sadly, expect the national press to thrive on such accusations.

Two years ago the same response met news of a new identity, by CDT Design, for the Department of Culture Media and Sport. Yet, amid accusations of squandering public money, DCMS was able to show that the new single colour logotype not only gave it more flexibility than the old crest, it also saved some 20 per cent of print costs. The same had previously been claimed by the BBC, which asked Lambie-Nairn to rework its identity to make it work at lower cost both on and off-screen.

Inevitably, the Treasury will be able to claim similar cost-savings if it opts for a new marque – it wouldn’t have got this far if it couldn’t. We urge the Design Council and others in design to force the debate about a new logo into the public arena and thrash out the issues for all to see, rather than leave politicians to score points against each other in the bitchy corridors of power.

Tribute to Minale

As a tribute to the massive contribution the late Marcello Minale made to design, we are looking to compile a family tree of consultancies whose principals kicked off their careers at Minale Tattersfield, the consultancy he founded more than 30 years ago with Brian Tattersfield.

Those who have gone on to greater things include award-winning packaging designer Bruce Duckworth of Turner Duckworth and Dew Gibbons founder Steve Gibbons. If you are also among the MinTat alumni – or know someone who is – please e-mail me at with details of your career or call on 020 7970 6408.

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