Olympics needs design vision to avoid Dome-style fiasco

It’s been quiet in Downing Street of late on the subject of creativity. But on Monday night, Creative Industries Minister Shaun Woodward reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to design.

Speaking at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, Woodward said the creative industries are one of three areas identified as vital to the economy, manufacturing and financial services being the other two.

Describing Government as an ‘enabler’ rather than bent on a regulatory regime to boost industry, Woodward goaded designers to act. He said they need to hone their business skills and indicated that they are reticent about asking for financial help. So take heed, check out support schemes and apply to them.

Woodward asserted that the effectiveness awards are ‘absolutely’ recognised by the Government as a force for good. If this is the case and measuring effectiveness is perceived as key, then we can hope he and his peers will lobby for a creative head for the London 2012 Olympics and push for an early appointment.

If Tony Blair and his team need evidence of how crucial a post could be to the long-term success of the Olympics, they need only revisit the fiasco of the Millennium Dome. That was a disaster of design management because of the inability of the then Government to put a proper structure in place early on.

Blair would do well to heed the advice of Martin Lambie-Nairn (see Voxpop, page 11). As one-time creative director at the Dome, creating the identity with sculptor Mark Reddy, he knows first hand what the pressures are. His suggestion of a coterie of experts is ideal.

The Government has time to get this one right and might consider a staggered approach. Key advisors at this stage might include old hands like Lambie-Nairn, Terence Conran and Richard Rogers, who continue to battle for quality. Having set the tone, they could pass the baton to a younger team of creative champions. The important thing is to start limbering up now.

Flocafé, an upmarket chain of café bars operating throughout Greece and Cyprus, is overhauling its estate following a rebrand by London-based consultancy HGV. The design is part of a strategy by the business to play down the fact that each bar is part of an 80-strong chain. HGV’s visual identity aims to introduce a more personal feel to the outlets, according to creative director Pierre Vermeir. ‘Unlike here, where people go to coffee bars for a quick hit, people go to a café to socialise. So we have tried to make sure that each café looks more like a single shop,’ he explains. To achieve this, HGV has developed a palette of elements from which the café owners can select.

The consultancy was appointed through its existing relationship with Flocafé’s advertising agency, Athens-based Fortune. It has designed brand guidelines, product packaging and signage which the company will now use to update its estate of stores.

Vermeir has also developed a bespoke typeface for the identity. The swirling letterforms and brown colour palette are intended to emphasise the importance of high-quality coffee, he says.

‘The previous logotype lacked a reflection of what the business is really about, which is the passion Mediterranean people have for coffee,’ he says.

Lynda Relph-Knight, Editor

Latest articles