Royal Mail starts formal review of its design roster

Royal Mail is reviewing its marketing communications design roster for the first time since 2003, and is looking to appoint up to five consultancies.

The company is seeking applications from design groups to allocate design work for all marketing communications activities. It has placed a tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union advertising the contract.

The remit of the roster does not include stamp design work, however, which is overseen separately by the business’s philatelic department.

The five groups on the Royal Mail’s current communications roster – Start Creative, The Open Agency, Home, The Design Group and Carter Wong Tomlin – were appointed in 2003 for a three-year term, and these contracts expire in June. The list is referred to internally as a ‘tactical design roster’ and was originally compiled to reduce the size of the previous 13-strong design roster (DW 14 August 2003).

Royal Mail also works with Wolff Olins and Proximity London on strategic projects, but these relationships are not affected by the roster review, according to a spokeswoman for Royal Mail.

The new contracts are being advertised as ‘design services for marketing communications’ and the roster is expected to be in place by June. The selection and running of the roster will be handled by head of campaigns in the marketing department, Andrew Hammond.

The spokeswoman was unable to reveal the budget allocated to design for marketing communications, but says the roster will run for ‘up to four years’. The closing date for expressions of interest is 3 April.

At the start of the year, Royal Mail lost its head of design for stamps, Jane Ryan, who left the company under a voluntary redundancy programme (DW 5 January). Ryan has not been replaced and stamp design commissioning is now handled by head of philatelic sector Julietta Edgar, Ryan’s previous superior. Stamp design is a separate operation to marketing communications and does not have its own roster of consultancies.

Separately, Start Creative is redesigning the way Royal Mail presents its stamp collections on-line, at The site will be given a look which is distinct from the Royal Mail parent site and launches this spring, ahead of the introduction of the new roster.


• Current roster compiled in summer 2003 – contracts expire in June

• Comprises Start Creative, The Open Agency, The Design Group, Home and Carter Wong Tomlin

• New design services for marketing communications roster will be in place by June

Latest articles