Horror scope for 1999

Millennium angst has had a worrying effect on Tim Rich, provoking a prophetic dream of a design body with a name problem and typographic debate leading to violence.

I’ve just emerged from a disturbing dream. It was about what 1999 has in store for the design industry. As the swirling, psychedelic images began to melt away, a low booming voice (a bit like Charlton Heston but with a slight west country burr) said “share this dream with your readers”. So this is what I saw.

January

Boredom with the millennium sets in earlier than expected. Dome turned into go-kart track.

Government promotes UK design with sticker campaign, Yo! Brit design is really kool!

Designers at Coley Knowles Moberly receive dream brief “to take Party 7 (seven full pints of beer in just one can!) into the new millennium”.

February

Design industry leaders write to the Pope asking him to support their campaign to end free pitching.

March

Pope says he’s not sure he can add God’s name to the End Free Pitching campaign, but invites designers to send in “any ideas or scams they may have for the next Vatican plc annual report”.

Minale Tattersfield adds to its existing 1356 offices by opening an office in every town and village in the UK. Meanwhile, Enterprise Group launches “Starship Enterprise”, the first design studio in space.

April

Discussions about the millennium bug and how it will affect business stuck on key point of whether the Millennium Bug Campaign logo is any good.

Swarm of mutant bees carrying LSD attacks judges at assessment of the D&AD Awards corporate identity category.

May

After DW Letters Page furore, Vatican confirms there is no budget for “coloured-in drawings or stuff like that” for its annual report, but says designers who help with the Lord’s work “may be rewarded in heaven”.

June

PriceWaterhouseCoopers identity wins Gold in the corporate identity category at D&AD.

July

Several designers at Coley Knowles Moberly are injured attempting to extract beer from Party 7 can.

August

Design industry’s representative bodies announce plans to merge.

September

New representative body for design, the Chartered Design Associative Council for All Sorts of Designers, launches at the National Breakdown Club.

Market research industry finances a national survey to assess the value of research. For a laugh, 100 per cent of respondents tick box that says “I don’t believe market research statistics”.

October

Acme Design sets world record for “longest time taken by a design consultancy to produce its own brochure”. The 12p booklet took nine years, 47 internal meetings and two firings.

A new report, The Internet is rubbish and no one really uses it, is published by the Federation of Scandiwegian Tree Businesses.

www.designsonyou.com is launched for designers looking to find the perfect account director. Designers record a short Flash animation sequence illustrating the way they work. Account directors who like what they see can leave a RealAudio message explaining how they foster a mutually satisfying environment for creativity.

Representative body to drop words “All” and “Sorts” after legal threat from Bassett’s licorice division.

November

Passions about typographic matters reach all time high with double murder at a Society of Typographic Designers debate. Problems start when Rotis Headhunters clashes with the Helvetica ICF. Government bans drinking during typography discussions, but police fear even worse trouble at next year’s FUSE internationals, predicting ugly clashes with German and Dutch hardliners.

Thieves meet in the Dick Turpin pub, Clerkenwell, to mark the occasion of the 100th design studio break-in of 1999. A lifetime achievement award – a scale model of a bank of iMacs – is presented to Nobby Grozzer.

Acme Design starts work on its Christmas card for 2003.

Representative body to drop words “Chartered” and “Designers”.

December

Representative body to drop the words “Associative” and “For”, leading to angry accusations that it is simply the old Design Council in disguise.

Entire nation’s plans to celebrate New Millennium’s Eve somewhere unusual or exotic change to something less ambitious at last minute. Sales of Party 7 go through the roof.

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