It’s been dismaying to note several recent instances of design groups being credited with the creation of identities which, in reality, they have had nothing to do with. I’ve lost count of design companies which have used the core BA “speedwing” identity, created by Landor in the early 1980s, in their own marketing publicity. Having designed a duty-free brochure, an exhibition panel or a swizzle stick for the airline, they feel entitled to give the impression that they are responsible for a major corporate identity programme.
The latest example is the publication of the visual symbol for Telia (DW 7 February), the Swedish national telecommunications company, in an article on Diefenbach Elkins. Telia’s identity was created solely by Landor during the run-up to the company’s privatisation, yet despite Design Week’s careful wording of accompanying text (simply ranking Telia as being among DF’s client list), the implication is that Diefenbach Elkins was itself responsible.
Corporate identity design is generally a collaborative process, for which no single designer can claim credit for the result. In its marketing communications, Landor only uses work created by its own design teams – not work produced by its staff while working at other companies, or in a freelance capacity. It’s a fine point, but it makes a big difference. I once wrote an article for a newspaper sold in Tesco’s – but that doesn’t make the retailer a client of mine.