Arts Council seeks groups for new roster

Arts Council England is seeking to appoint consultancies from across the UK for a new £1.5m national design roster, with a view to boosting its creativity.

Some 20 design and marketing groups will be selected to work on about 200 briefs a year, including 50 branding projects and 150 marketing and communica tions commissions.

The Arts Council is looking to appoint about 15 consultancies to work on communications briefs and five design groups to work on brand development.

It currently works with 15-20 design groups on an informal basis, but aims to formalise procurement through creating the three-year roster.

Consultancies on the marketing communications side will be producing annual reviews, event marketing and campaign materials, while the branding side will involve strategic brand development jobs and creating project identities.

‘This roster is part of our plan to become more “arts” and less “council”, pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation through cutting-edge design and experim ents,’ says Arts Council marketing officer Elizabeth Marston.

The organisation claims that its decision to organise a formal roster springs from the appoint – ment in September of chief executive Alan Davey.

‘In the past we have not really shouted about ourselves, but we are going to be much more public-facing and we want a brand to take that forward,’ explains Marston.

The council is currently appointing a consultancy to review the guidelines for its own visual identity. The winning group will be briefed to ‘make our existing identity more flexible, to allow the level of creativity and innovation within our marketing and design work shine through,’ she adds.

The council’s current design consultancies, including Intro and Blast, will have to apply through the public procurement process for a place on the roster. A pre-qualification questionnaire is now available from the council’s website.

‘We are keen to get every one who might be interested to know about it and apply – we anticipate receiving a lot of calls, but we really want to get the best,’ says Marston.

The Arts Council intends to have a full complement of rostered design consultancies by the autumn.

The tender is being run by AAR in compliance with the Official Journal of the European Union regulations on public tenders.


• Arts Council England makes pre-qualification questionnaire available on its website at marketingdesignroster (27 June)
• Tender process begins (end of July)
• Clarification meetings between shortlisted consultancies and the Arts Council to take place (October)
• Arts Council design and marketing roster line-up to be announced (November)

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