After seeing an advertisement in a local newspaper, on the 29th of January I attended an assembly of designers. It was an open “presentation” by Mr Peter Clements of The Noble Organisation’s desire for a new logo for the Palace Pier, Brighton.
This amounted to a few facts about the pier; that it was the third most attended free venue in the south; there were 3.5 million visitors last year and these were of all ages. Two principal directors of the company visited amusement parks worldwide, presumably looking for ideas.
What was more notable was what the presentation left out. The company had no idea what it wanted, what the logo ought to reflect, what it would need to communicate and to whom. This was justified in the name of not restricting creativity, and the company having no idea what was required at this stage.
The company had decided to allow only seven days for the production of proposals, although it would need ten days to judge them. There would be no payment for anything it did not like. It was also implied that any successful designer would be subject to similar tight deadlines in the future.
Thus the company felt the sole reason for producing a logo should be a designer’s whim and the means of judging its worth would be the recipient’s whim.
It is legendary how much design is misunderstood and undervalued in the UK, but in comparison to how much money has been lavished on fun fair equipment for the pier, this is an insult.
Ultimately, a logo or namestyle, while being a piece of graphic design, is also a means of communication. Without deciding what needs to be communicated, to whom and why, it is impossible to decide how to do it.
If, on their trips around the world, the directors had brought back one picture of an attraction they felt was successful, original or stylish, a dialogue could start which would lead to a successful design. The first step must be to start a dialogue, otherwise no input leads to no output.
I eagerly await the outcome of this hit or miss approach, but feel that contributing to a raft of unfocused logos would be less appropriate than sending a white stick and a compass.
See News, page Roger Rolfe
Roger Rolfe Design
Brighton BN2 1RD