Thursday, March 11, 2010

Copycat 2014 logo should be cheaper, says critic

A discount has been demanded for work carried out ion the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games logo amid accusations it is almost identical to another design produced by the same firm.

Former Lord Provost Michael Kelly, who came up with the 1980s “Glasgow’s Smiles Better” campaign, said the logo was so similar to another produced for an arts organisation that some of the £95,000 paid from the public purse should be returned.

Mr Kelly’s intervention came as the design world rallied to accuse critics of the logo of being “puerile and uninformed”, but yesterday one leading cultural commentator derided it as derivative and lacking in originality.

The row followed revelations yesterday that Glasgow-based branding consultancy Marque, which designed the Commonwealth logo unveiled on Monday, had in 2007 created a design for The Common Guild, an arts organisation based in the city.

Both of the designs feature a capital “G” surrounded by two partial circles within a complete circle.

Managing director Mark Noe said at the launch it was “really rooted in integrity and as a graphic design piece is as solid as anything out there”, adding that the company had put a lot of thought and effort into it and that it contained “lots of historic graphic references”.

A source close to The Common Guild, an arts charity that has been using its logo for three years, said that they were “surprised” to see the Commonwealth Games logo.

Sources said it spent “nowhere near” £95,000 on its logo, which it uses as a stamp on all its exhibitions and publications.

Last night the 2014 team and others on the judging panel insisted they were well aware of the Common Guild logo during the selection process, which drew more than 60 entries.

However, Mr Kelly said: “While there’s little chance of these logos clashing, particularly on a world stage where the 2014 branding will be, in these recessionary times the 2014 team would be well justified in demanding a discount.”

Neil Baxter, secretary of The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said: “It’s colourful, it’s lively but it’s derivative.

“The skill of the designer is to come up with an innovative and original design to fit the brief, and that should not be ‘one we made earlier’.

“I do feel that while people may have a house style or whatever, you should really be avoiding something that is similar to one you did some time ago.

“I would expect a top-quality organisation to come up with something a little more original.”

Frank McAveety MSP, the former Labour culture minister whose Glasgow Shettleston constituency includes many of the Games venues, said the debate would not sidetrack preparations for a successful games.

However, he added: “If I were involved in this process I’d be asking some hard questions right now.”

Judging panel organiser Andy Crummey conceded he would be “telling a lie if [he] said that if you put the two together there isn’t a strong similarity”, but said the 2014 logo would stand the test of time.

The design industry rallied to “defend its profession in the wake of negative comments following this week’s launch”.

Richard Draycott, editor of industry magazine The Drum, said: “It is obvious that the

market still doesn’t understand the value of good design and what it can add to the economic performance of a country, event or brand.

“How can we

educate the market to ensure that such puerile and uninformed debate becomes a thing of the past?”

A Games spokesman said “The Glasgow 2014 brand went through very rigorous testing against existing trademarks and brands.

“We believe there will be no issues arising from any similarity that people might see.”

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