It’s time for the roster trend to come back into style

If you hang around long enough you find that nothing changes in design. It just goes round in circles and what is discredited one minute is revered the next.

If you hang around long enough you find that nothing changes in design. It just goes round in circles and what is discredited one minute is revered the next.

Take rosters, for example. Ten years ago they were de rigueur for clients who didn’t have much inkling about how to buy design. A nice, safe option, they brought few surprises in terms of style or cost and some, such as those run by John McConnell for Boots the Chemists’ packaging blazed a trail that included quality as well as cost-control.

Then astute clients shopped around, bringing in fashionable groups to take on sexy projects and building in-house teams to handle the rest.

But it’s clear that rosters are back in vogue. We expect them in public concerns such as Transport for London (DW 26 May). But it is interesting to see the likes of Scottish Courage taking this route.

We can expect great things from rosters if they are well managed. Let’s hope the new crop are.

Frederick Davies, Design management consultant, London NW8

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