It looks like we have to teach the Government about the value of design


While design turns in on itself to debate whether or not the logo is dead, the Government thinks it has the answer. The logo is very much alive for Prime Minister David Cameron, but the designer’s role in it is negligible.

This was the message on Monday as Cameron launched the Start-Up Britain initiative mooted in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget speech last week. The campaign, backed by Sir James Dyson among others, gives tips on how to establish a successful business, one of which is to avail yourself of a logo.

So far so good, but the recommended route to creating that logo is US website, where you ’crowdsource’ your design by submitting specifications and seeing what comes in. You only pay for the logo you like and there is no real dialogue. The site offers a similar service for marketing collateral, from brochures to websites, and costs are low – $295 (£184) for a logo.

You have to wonder if Cameron and Osborne were aware of the Design Council’s work to help business

Given this unenlightened approach, you have to wonder if Cameron and Osborne were aware of the Design Council’s work to help British business achieve success through design before it changed its status from being a non-governmental organisation to being a charity. They certainly appear to have paid no heed to the ongoing work on public-sector procurement by the Associate Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group, the Design Business Association and others.

Fortunately, the council remains advisor to Government on design in its new guise, effective from Friday. Top of its agenda must surely be high-level discussions on the value of design in business and as part of social change, followed by workshops in design management best practice.

Let’s hope that the Lib Dem element of the coalition is more savvy with its own rebranding, which reports suggest is in hand. Previous studies by the Design Council and the DBA link sound business performance to good use of design and this could surely work for governments.

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