The Design Council is to drop its identity less than a year after it was designed by The Partners.
It is now talking to design groups about replacing the slogan-based identity system, introduced at the council’s official relaunch last December.
The shock move has left The Partners “very disappointed”, says partner David Stuart: “It came as a bolt from the blue.” The identity was not even fully implemented – the consultancy was about to start on the final stages.
Sources suggest some of the new directors of the Design Council who joined after the launch are dissatisfied with the identity.
“Perhaps they don’t like it or don’t have a sense of ownership,” says one source.
The council is claimed to have asked up to ten consultancies for proposals about replacing the identity. The Partners put a proposal forward but it was rejected. Neville Brody is believed to be among the designers approached.
A shortlist has been drawn up, but it is thought an appointment may be on hold until after the Budget on 28 November, when spending levels will be announced for the council’s funder, the Department of Trade and Industry.
Even if money is available for a new identity, the council is certain to be criticised for throwing away the money it has spent on The Partners’ identity and for what will be seen as poor design management.
Stuart says: “I can’t think of an identity which has been quite so successful in such a short space of time.” It has won several awards and nominations from British Design and Art Direction and the Art Directors Club of New York.
A Design Council spokeswoman confirms the review of the identity but will not say who is taking part. The council declines to say why the present identity is being dropped, but the move follows a survey of opinions about The Partners’ identity conducted last summer.