I am intrigued by the idea that our Scottish neighbours are planning to bring “pure” design to the north-east via Newcastle’s NE6 consultancy (DW 10 May).
There are a number of notable design groups in Newcastle which have to work very hard to compete in an increasingly demanding and ill-defined marketplace. For example, it is not uncommon for local advertising agencies to be the first port of call for an identity or packaging project.
We don’t like it. We all know that a good design consultancy can bring a degree of analysis, creative talents and design management skills to these projects where a full-service agency (or any of its associated design offshoots) cannot hope to even scratch the surface. I assume that this is sometimes the case even in the rarefied atmosphere of the “Athens of The North”.
So what do the people at EH6 mean by “pure”? Do they mean a hallowed and exemplary form of creativity that existing Newcastle design groups cannot aspire to? Do they mean an irreproachable form of design unadulterated by the dirt and grime of the north’s commerce and industry? Or are they talking about an immaculate embodiment of the free spirit of design without any association with the more crude forms of advertising communications?
I have a great regard for the work of EH6, and I welcome NE6 to the north-east and look forward to some new competition. But Mr Coates and Mr McIlroy, please don’t be so pretentious. There’s no room for it here. We have a hard enough time convincing clients of the difference between design groups and ad agencies. So it’s a bit rich for the design arm of the Leith agency to take such a patronising line.
If you can’t be “pure”, be good.
Iain Kerr Associates
Northumberland NE42 5PR