COI take note: seven is the magic staff number

I thank Fanny Sigler for responding to my letter with regards to the Central Office of Information’s brand and brand identity framework’s strict capacity and resources criteria (DW 7 January).

Of course the Government and public-sector clients demand assurance that a consultancy can manage a project in the given timescale, with stakeholders to please. That is a given of any project, regardless of if it is from the Government or the public or private sectors.

Selection should be based on a group’s ability to deliver the relevant project based on experience and merit, not on how many staff they happen to have at a given time.

Sigler states that the calculations took into account the need for multidisciplinary branding teams that include client services and project management, strategy, and language as well as visual identity expertise. These are all criteria that most briefs in any area require.

Successful groups service their clients, manage projects and provide strategy relevant to each brief. The provision of relevant content, be that copy, photography or illustration, is rarely an in-house activity, as each brief will require different specialists to deliver results.

I do appreciate that other frameworks will soon be launching that our group’s resources will be deemed suitable for. However, we specialise in brand identity, having created brands for many clients. The number of staff we employ has never been an issue to any of them.

Erik Spiekermann’s thoughts sum this up in an interview in the book Studio Culture: ‘You can have 125 people, but the work never gets done by more than five people. The teams are never bigger than that. It’s all about group dynamics.

More then seven people and you don’t increase efficiency or effectiveness, you just have more meetings. If you have 12 people, you don’t work twice as much as six people, you work 50 per cent more, so in other words you lose money.’

Jonathon Jeffrey, Director, Bibliothèque Design, London EC2

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