The New Millennium Experience Company has hired the man behind the revamp of the BBC brand as its new design supremo, after its acrimonious and highly public split with creative director Stephen Bayley.
Martin Lambie-Nairn takes a seat on the board of the NMEC with a two-year contract. His title is still under discussion, although creative director or creative consultant are two options being considered.
NMEC, which in the past denied it would replace Bayley or appoint a design agency to devise an identity, has hired Lambie-Nairn’s consultancy The Brand Union, where he is creative director.
The agency has been briefed to create a series of identities for the Millennium project. It won the business after a three-way pitch, but there was no formal tender (MW December 11 1997). NMEC is required to register the tender for any work worth over 150,000 in the Official Journal of the European Community.
An NMEC spokesman says The Brand Union is being paid 50,000 for the task, which involves creating an identity for NMEC, one for the Dome and the application of the Dome identity to the logos of corporate sponsors. The Dome logo will be used for merchandising.
A team of between five and ten designers is being taken on at The Brand Union, headed by project leader Claire Anderson.
The relatively tiny cost of the project has been greeted with incredulity by design industry experts. One says: “That is a ridiculously small fee. There is just no way an agency would charge so little. I would have thought it would take 1m to cover that lot.”
Lambie-Nairn is well-known in the design world. He worked with Michael Grade, board member of the NMEC, when he designed the original Channel 4 logo.
Greg Walker, political assistant to shadow culture secretary Francis Maude, says the issue “will be taken up with interest in Parliament as members have indicated displeasure with Peter Mandelson’s handling of the Dome”.