Why is communication in the public sector criticised?

I write to add our support to last week’s Comment (DW 12 January). Civil Service critics fail to see the big picture, urging all those involved in design to enter into debate about the positive value it brings to Government and ultimately those that Government serves.

For years, Government was criticised as being monolithic and faceless. Yet as soon as it pays attention to branding and identity it is criticised. So why is communication a ‘wrong priority’ when applied to Whitehall, and yet acceptable as an important asset to the brand when deployed in the private sector?

Effective branding in Government lends a face and personality to departments, agencies and initiatives that are important to our daily lives rather than to a shareholders dividend. Effective branding in Government offers a consistent base on which to build and express often complex and far-reaching messages. Most importantly, effective branding in Government is proven to save public money and increase effectiveness as part of the Government’s modernisation programme.

Effective branding in Government has become a political football because it is often just that – effective, visible and communicative. Detractors seem happy to suspend reality and dismiss the role that branding plays in the rest of their lives and deny Government the same ability to communicate effectively, be visible and have personality.

I wonder what design’s detractors would offer as an alternative.

Julian Grice

Managing director

The Team


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