William Powell AM yesterday criticised the Welsh Government for spending £7,625 on a new logo. He unearthed this scandalous factoid by submitting a FOI request asking for “All available information relating to the design/development costs of any logo/symbol/emblems for the new Natural Resources Wales body.”
The Welsh Government responded, as they were obliged to:
The total costs for agreeing the brief for the logo creation, developing and refining creative routes and developing basic visual style were £7,625.
Mr. Powell describes the logo as “an unimpressive multicolored [sic] hexagon” and that he finds it “deeply disappointing and scandalous that the Welsh Government is willing to spend £7,625 of public money on designing a new logo for Natural Resources Wales.” He concludes:
The Welsh Government must learn to be responsible with the public money it spends. While Natural Resources Wales obviously needs a logo, it is simply unacceptable to be spending over seven and a half thousand pounds on it. Given the remit of Natural Resources Wales I regret that more work wasn’t done to engage schools across Wales in the logo’s design.
Back to school William
I can’t imagine that a coordinated school competition would have proven more cost effective, certainly not one run on a national scale. Even if it were a realistic alternative, designers would still need to be employed to prepare the winning logo for use on the web, printed materials, signage and so on. And even if school labour were cheaper than hiring professionals, competitions are not a good way to source quality designs.
The WalesOnline article ends with a quote from an unnamed Welsh Government spokeswoman in defence of the spend:
[NRWs] remit is to ensure that the environment and natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, enhanced and used, with its responsibilities ranging from incident response through to regulation and enforcement.
The logo needs to represent these responsibilities, and allow the organisation to be recognised, trusted and respected by its customers and stakeholders both in Wales an abroad.
The logo also needs to bring together the cultures of the three existing organisations that Natural Resources Wales will replace.
The external contractor brought impartiality and wider expertise to this work. We went through a rigorous tender process before appointing the contractor and are satisfied that we paid a fair market price for its work.
I agree. To me, £7,625 seems quite reasonable. Almost cheap.
£7,625 seems quite reasonable. Almost cheap.
Natural Resources Wales is a merger of the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales and the Forestry Commission Wales, so the brief could well have fairly elaborate. Not to mention that each of these bodies would have senior stakeholders who think they should have a say in the new logo, adding negotiation into the process.
A good brand isn’t produced in a single afternoon by one designer doodling around in Adobe Illustrator: There is discovery to be done (about the client and their clients), thinking, sketching, drafting, contexts to consider, discussion, experimentation, refinement, technical considerations, delivery practicalities and more. Even if you think a logo shouldn’t warrant that much time and attention, you are still paying a professional to do their job. Their experience and expertise brings value.
FOI for PR
This is clearly a cynical ploy designed to generate a bit of publicity. A small abuse of the FOI system to manufacture a high-horse issue. It in fact says far more about the ignorance of this Assembly Member than it does about government waste.
Compared with another costly logo, the NRW logo seems positively bargain basement (and nicer too, in my opinion):
Anyway, my point is: No story here.
I think the final word has to go to Craig Lockwood:
Craig Lockwood (@craiginwales) March 11, 2013
- William Powell AM on Twitter – I’m sure he’d love to hear your opinion. He’s actually fairly active, though he doesn’t seem to engage in any conversation there.
- FOI request reveals £7,625 cost of new Natural Resources Wales logo – williampowell.org.uk
- Welsh Government criticised for spending £7,625 on new logo – walesonline.co.uk (If you look at the comments you’ll see that the idea of outsourcing the work to schools had plenty of traction. Evidence that even hamfisted PR can be received unthinkingly if the message is common-sense flavoured.)
- BP attacked over £136m logo as petrol prices soar – telegraph.co.uk