HM Government Loses its Identity

The government has done something very clever, and people seem not to have noticed. With very little fanfare, it was announced last week that all government departments will share a common logo, that of the Crown, with minimal rights to vary colours and fonts. No more huge rebranding exercises, no more bizarre departmental logos, perhaps even an end to the merry-go-round of renaming exercises that the last administration so enjoyed (I imagine that the DTI BERR BIS will be very pleased to hear that).

This change was apparently driven by Martha Lane-Fox’s report, and it achieves much more than just saving money on branding consultants (although that’s a worthy aim in itself); it creates an environment in which some of the alleged inter-departmental warfare famously lampooned in numerous political satires is potentially defused, since those departments are less characterised by their branding; it creates a common bond through a shared identity; and most importantly, it is an important step towards proper consumer-centricity in service delivery. After all, do individuals care from which public authority a particular service originates? No. Do they wish to deal with multiple departments to obtain those services? No. Do they have any choice in which authority provides those services? No. So why bother wasting money on promoting the brands of particular departments?

The move aligns nicely with GDS’ plans to deliver a single website for government. What would be welcome now would be a similar edict applied to regional authorities, so that we no longer waste money on branding individual NHS or police authorities, or local government bodies.