Uninformed criticism of design is hard to rebuff

I read with considerable amusement your piece on the comments of Conservative MP Greg Hands (pictured) about the outsourcing of creative work on the NHS 60th anniversary logo to design consultancies (News, DW 14 January).

It’s not the first time in my 20-year career that I’ve heard observations such as ‘Well, isn’t it just a case of pressing a few buttons?’ and ‘Doesn’t the software do all that?’, while discussing the creative process with clients.

Here is a prime example of an individual who does not value design or understand its place in society.

I would have thought, however, that the Tory PR machine would sense-check the impact of insulting an entire business sector – at least in voting terms.

It’s easy to be scathing, after all, when you have absolutely no insight into how the logo was implemented, and are interested only in top-line figures.

We are uniquely placed for this type of criticism by the nature of our work and its subjectivity. I agree totally with Lynda Relph-Knight’s assertion that the industry needs to get better at communicating the real value of design, but is it ever going to be taken as seriously as we would like?

Most of us are resigned to being treated as ‘those sensitive, creative people’. And I’m not sure that the initial knee-jerk responses to Hands have helped at all in anything but underpinning this prejudice.

I console myself with the fact that Hands has clearly confused the ease of adding two digits to an existing NHS mark with that of adding two more zeros to the national debt.

Marc Rocca, Managing director, Rocca Creative, by e-mail
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