Garrett puts English Icons on-line

Malcolm Garrett is working with Cognitive Applications as creative director on a £1m cultural project called Icons, to which the group was appointed last week.

Icons is the largest commission to date from Culture Online, a scheme from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport tasked with increasing access to culture and the arts through technology. Cognitive Applications will create the website, branding and content for Icons – a virtual collection of hundreds of England’s cultural icons – but will employ external partners to bolster its own team, says managing director Alex Morrison. It is understood that additional designers will be recruited to work alongside Garrett.

The website will make use of key cultural symbols, such as Stonehenge or the double-decker bus, to act as a springboard to extended learning.

‘We are taking things that are very familiar to people who live in England and using them as gateways for people to learn about their world,’ explains Morrison. ‘These things have become iconic because they condense so much information and history.’

The consultancy won an initial eight-way pitch a year ago, followed by a four-way shortlist. It was officially awarded the contract last week and is currently putting together design details, holding branding workshops to devise a visual identity.

‘We have taken a year to plan and incubate Icons, as we are hoping it will go on to become a self-sustaining organisation, beyond its two-year project length,’ explains Morrison.

The design of the site needs to combine education, engagement, credibility and authority, he adds. ‘The wide range of icons means the site will be heterogeneous, but the visual and design elements must be coherent,’ he adds.

Additional projects are set to emerge from Culture Online, after it was awarded a further £3m of funding from the DCMS last month (DW 10 March).

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