A bunch of red noses – what could be better?

Design Week offers a chance to provide inspiration for a red nose for the end of the millennium

While Peter Mandelson battles on grim-faced to create positive vibes about the Millennium Dome at Greenwich among potential sponsors and the public, another enterprise is forging ahead with more light-hearted plans to celebrate the millennium – or at least to set the scene for the year 2000.

Comic Relief, the charity that put Red Nose Day in the calendar, is planning to redesign that all-important nose for its pre millennial Night of Comic Relief, to be screened by BBC1 on 12 March 1999. And it is looking to designers to set the creative standards for that “must-have” fashion accessory.

In the past there have been eight variations on the Red Nose Day nose, as seen modelled by the likes of comedian Lenny Henry, TV chef Delia Smith and The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick. There have also been bigger models for cars and cabs and a mega version for buildings.

The range takes in noses with outstretched hands and the furry number created last year with help from The Body Shop design head Jon Turner and his team. Such was the effort put into the research for the Shaggy Nose that the experts at toy manufacturer Hasbro responsible for creating hair for superdolls Sindy and Action Man were brought in to advise on the fur.

Design Week readers will have the first stab at the ideas competition for the nose of 1999, which, though no money will change hands, has the blessing of Design Business Association chairman Colin Porter. Comic Relief isn’t necessarily looking for finished designs, but for wacky concepts that will help to promote the venture. The charity will brainstorm around the ideas deemed most apt and will take the project forward to production.

The reward? The best, in our estimation, will be published in the magazine and all will go through for consideration by the Comic Relief judges, along-side entries from schools and other sources. There could also be two tickets for the Night of Comic Relief for the winner.

The brief is quite simple. It has to be red – Comic Relief is adamant – and it has to be fun, given the charity’s track record of using humour to get across the serious needs of disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa. We at DW will also be looking for the quality of the idea, wit and presentation skills when we select which noses to publish.

At time of going to press, the judging panel includes actress Joanna Lumley, media presenter Emma Freud, The Body Shop’s Jon Turner and DW editor Lynda Relph-Knight.

According to Turner: “The great thing about Comic Relief is that no idea is a bad idea.” That said, if you were thinking of snappy little concepts like Brown Nose and Coke Nose, forget it. They’ve already been tried – and rejected.

Send your submissions to Lucy Fitzherbert at Comic Relief, 74 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1EF by 3 April, or call her on 0171-436 1541 for more details.

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