TfL’s latest pitch process places unfair demands

Factory Design has been on and off the Transport for London roster over the years and, as a business, we have enjoyed working for a client that surrounds a Londoner’s working day.

TfL group design manager Innes Ferguson is at the design helm of a business at its most demanding time, when the system is suffering most from having been around longer than any other, so we should all wish him well.

But when I read that work on the London Overground stock is being done as a result of a ’72-hour, open brief, with a minimal budget’, for which you could ‘come up with as many ideas as you wanted’,

I think f**k that (DW 10 August).

This pitch structure will determine who is prepared to do the most work for the least money in a time scale that means they must drop everything else to deliver, or be large enough to absorb it as just another job.

These are hardly ideal criteria for deciding who is right for a project. And I’m left wondering why it can be felt necessary to wring design consultancies dry for a few bob when a roster allows a client to have what, in TFL’s case, is a highly detailed insight into how a design business works?

Adam White, Partner, Factory Design, London W6

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