Publicity ‘may halt’ DCMS identity

The bad publicity surrounding CDT Design’s identity concepts for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is in danger of “damaging” the entire project, says consultancy senior partner Mike Dempsey.

Last week several national newspapers reported that a senior DCMS employee found CDT’s three initial identity proposals “childish” and “impossible”.

The concepts were displayed in the department all last week and its 350 employees were invited to submit written comments. The designs were reported to be based around a coloured square housing the letters DCMS.

“If we proceed [with these concepts] we are going to get the pee taken out of us big-time,” Culture Secretary Chris Smith’s private secretary Tony Dyer said. The quote comes from an internal e-mail released to the Press Association and printed in a number of newspapers. It is not known if the release was planned.

But Dempsey says the reports are one-sided because they are based entirely on the opinion of one DCMS employee.

“Any proposal will have people who are for it and against it. To build a story on one person’s viewpoint is inaccurate and could damage the programme by influencing his [Dyer’s] DCMS colleagues’ views,” says Dempsey.

DCMS head of communications Graham Newsom adds: “It is apparent that many people in the department think one of the designs would be acceptable.”

Dempsey says the reports also do the design industry a disservice, by failing to recognise the entire scope of a corporate identity project of this nature.

“It’s wrong to judge the process by the visual work alone. But the press have got a thing about how much money is wasted on logos at the moment. We did a year’s research before we even started the design – looking at the whole positioning of the department and working out the entire design strategy,” says Dempsey.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith is assessing the comments submitted by his DCMS colleagues, before deciding how to proceed with the project. Newsom says there is no timescale for completion of the programme.

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