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Debrand The City Of London

“The scale of the support currently provided to UK banks has fallen from a peak of £955 billion to £512 billion, but the amount of cash currently borrowed by the Government to support banks has risen by £7 billion since December 2009. It is likely the taxpayer will be providing support for years to come.”

National Audit Office

This year as part of their student awards D&AD released a brief to rebrand the City Of London. The project set by Venture Three, stated that this was a valid brief because “we need the city to work for our savings and our student loans.” Students, who are one of the groups who had suffered the most as a result of the banking crisis what with widescale withdrawal of higher education funding and the tripling of tuition fees, were now being asked to use their talent, supress their anger and rebrand the very people who were causing their hardship in the first place.

At Occupy Design we don’t think this is acceptable, so we’ve set up a ‘debranding’ competition to allow you to say what you really feel about the City of London see the competition entries here.

13 Responses to “Debrand The City Of London”

  1. As the writer of the venturethree brief I am incredibly pleased to see Occupy picking up on this. The intention behind it was to create a controversial brief that could be interpreted however the student saw fit.

    We were looking for interesting and provocative ways for students to express their feelings about the City.

    It’s also true that we wanted to create a brief that took students out of their comfort zone and made them think about the world they live in.

    So I welcome this initiative and look forward to seeing the work that gets produced.

    Stuart Watson

  2. […] -you can see more at   http://occupydesign.org.uk/debrand-the-city/ […]

  3. Dan says:

    What a waste of your energy this is. It’s a shame you didn’t take a little longer to actually engage your brains before launching into your diatribe about bankers.

    The way I see it, although Venturethree consider this a controversial brief, it’s open to interpretation; in other words, you could look at this simply as the rebranding of a London borough/local authority. That’s all the City of London is. “The City” is used as a colloquial monicker for the banking and finance industry based there, but you seem to have latched onto this as meaning a rebrand for the industry to which you’re directing your venom.

    Consider that the City of London also contains many small businesses and residents who have nothing to do with banking or finance. Most of all, if you are going to be considered as serious designers when you finally get out into our industry, you should have the ability to approach any brief from any angle and make maximum opportunity from it, especially when it appears banal or restrictive. If you still see it purely from a banking/finance perspective, use it to make your political point.

    Do anything except have the reaction you’ve just had. It makes you sound naive and bitter.

  4. Occupy Design says:

    Stuart, it was you in the video for the brief who said, “all the cool stuff is at Brick Lane with the grafitti etc, the City and the Right don’t have any of this and we want to funnel some of that ‘coolness’ to them” that’s not quite your exact words but the video is now down, but it was pretty much that. So that and the fact the brief started by saying “Until we can get a new model of Capitalism we need the City for our Pensions, Students Loans and Overdrafts” this was also altered by D&AD after complaint to what we say above. That hardly suggests or leads people to think this is something more than branding the Financial Services of the City of London (as the work actually entered also suggests).


    Dan, if you had engaged your brain and actually read the information on the City we have provided as background you would know that no, the City of London is not like any other local authority, it is a feudal City within the City which as George Monbiot says,

    “What is this thing? Ostensibly it’s the equivalent of a local council, responsible for a small area of London known as the Square Mile. But, as its website boasts, “among local authorities the City of London is unique”. You bet it is. There are 25 electoral wards in the Square Mile. In four of them, the 9,000 people who live within its boundaries are permitted to vote. In the remaining 21, the votes are controlled by corporations, mostly banks and other financial companies. The bigger the business, the bigger the vote: a company with 10 workers gets two votes, the biggest employers, 79. It’s not the workers who decide how the votes are cast, but the bosses, who “appoint” the voters. Plutocracy, pure and simple.”


    For the record Occupy Design is not just made up of students but also many Designers who have worked in ‘your industry’ for years and are sick of the apolitical, keep you head down mentality and cynicism that attacks any attempt to make us think seriously about what we are doing and what it is doing to the world, and that is why we are debranding the City and this D&AD brief because we don’t want to pay for a crisis caused by in those banking tower blocks and we already are.

  5. Cosmo Jameson says:

    D&AD’s brief was a design challenge. The City of London won’t actually use this rebrand.

  6. James says:

    This continual nonsense from the Occupy posse is truly annoying, if not only for it’s pure ignorance, naivety and negativity.

    I walked past the occupy protests regularly and sighed at the amount of people (all of them) in tents and clothes, eating food in wrappers, that had all been made by companies financed by the banks, had all been produced from raw materials dug out of the earth including oil from the oh so terrible oil conglomerates such as BP, and are all products transported around the globe on high emission jets.

    You clearly know nothing, are contributing nothing to the debate – no alternative, no nothing – instead you simply criticize ‘the city’ and anyone who is in the smallest bit related to it. The students that won these D&AD awards worked incredibly hard to create impressive and innovative design that bring an angle on positive sunshine on what is a great City. And you shun them. These students are our future, are working and creating and you rubbish their work and the things they work hard towards.

    Instead of constantly bringing other people down, why don’t you all – and I mean all of you involved in the Occupy movements – take a long hard look at yourselves. If you have a better way – then say so. If not, then go back to work and start contributing to a positive society like the rest of us are – rather than occupying or rather ‘wasting’ space.

  7. Occupy Design says:

    Cosmo we’re well aware of that, we are highlighting the ethical aspect of a project like this in the current crisis.

    James the Occupy movement has contributed a huge amount to society already but highlighting the way the banks have ruined the world economy through their reckless gambling with our money. It has also raised awareness and forced politicians to at least pay lip service to the idea that it is wrong for rich people to avoid and evade tax, it has stood in solidarity and helped (and continues to help) the disabled, the poor, children, working people all are being made poorer and attacked for a crisis they didn’t cause. It’s a simple fact that the 1000 richest people in the UK (many of them hedge fund managers and investment bankers) have increased their wealth by £155 billion pounds in the last 3 years that’s enough to pay off the deficit and still have £30 billion left over! We think this is wrong, so do we believe the vast majority of people.

    You obviously don’t.

    Occupy Design is not attacking any students hard work, we are making an argument based on things we believe to be self-evidently true to those students to realise the context in which they are working and realise what we do matters, the people they are being asked to make look good are the same ones chaining them into (now) a £50,00 to get a degree, again we think this is wrong.

    You obviously don’t.

    Lastly, we live in a Capitalist society, there’s nothing I or anyone else can do to change that right now so protestors – who are of course just ordinary people and not some alien species – must buy things to stay alive, this doesn’t invalidate or mean we cannot be against a system that only cares about selling things for profit and not people or the environment, by any means necessary really, times running out – taken a look at the weather recently?

    We hope you change your mind, Design is a force for good, but only if used correctly.

  8. Maisie Benson says:

    Whilst I agree with what Occupy Design is doing and the movement generally, I find it difficult to support this part of the campaign.
    With more and more students graduating each year and jobs, as we are all aware, hard to come by, students rely on competitions like D&AD to set their work apart.
    I understand that during a person’s career, especially in the design world, they will face moral dilemmas as to whether they should endorse a certain image or brand. However I think that as students working on hypothetical, if you like, briefs there should not be the same amount of stigma as to what is morally right or wrong.
    I think many students realise that their work will, at some point, have an impact on other people and they will need to consider which projects they want to put their name to. But I think that if a student were to answer the D&AD brief in the hope of increasing employability they should not be judged negatively for doing so. I do not think they should have to feel ashamed to include that work in their portfolios and I am inclined to think that they will after seeing this.
    I realise you may well be tacking the brief as opposed to the responses, as you say you are not attacking their hard work, but perhaps this could be made clearer if it is the case?

  9. James says:

    Occupy Design:

    “the Occupy movement has contributed a huge amount to society already” umm … I’m not sure – like what? I mean what real tangible benefits and changes has the Occupy movement really made?

    “forced politicians to at least pay lip service to the idea that it is wrong for rich people to avoid and evade tax” I think the media would have done a good enough of a job with Occupy to be honest, do you really think this is only down to Occupy?

    “continues to help) the disabled, the poor, children, working people all are being made poorer and attacked for a crisis they didn’t cause” – how? you don’t really help them though do you? also – this just emphasises how naive the occupy movement really is. you thin kjust because people are poor or are not bankers, they didn’t cause the crisis? everyone had their part to play. the entire western world runs on credit. the financial crisis stems from sub prime rotten foundation in the US and western Europe, which means that both the consumer and the financial sector are guilt. ignorance is not a defence.

    another thing, if you had looked at the winner of the D&AD brief you would have seen that most of the ‘City’ components branded were things like culture, taxi drivers, coffee shops and so on. these server and employ the ordinary people you oh so self righteously claim to protest for, you yet again as a movement jumped on the band wagon and didn’t even look at the detail of what you were critcising of the implications and pitfalls of your argument.

    what is wrong with being rich? so what if they have increased their wealth? get real, it’s such a pointless argument lambasting the rich. they probably create so many jobs through supply chains that employ the very ‘poor’ people you talk about.

    “so do we believe the vast majority of people.” says who? where’s your evidence?

    “the people they are being asked to make look good are the same ones chaining them into (now) a £50,00 to get a degree” – this is how much our degrees costs, it’s ust the tax payer paid for the majority of it. now the student, in their working life will still pay it back just for their own education. we should be teaching students to go into such choices as informed as possible, and lots of them are. they certainly aren’t being chained into it! they are being offered amazing educations which still compared to the majority of the population of the world is an achievement that should be embraced.

    “this doesn’t invalidate or mean we cannot be against a system that only cares about selling things for profit and not people or the environment,” – well, yes it does! you can’t protest against a system that you survive off and have no other options, it is hypocrisy pure and simple. scape goating the bankers and the rich is simply medieval bla bla – at least propose a better way.

  10. Occupy Design says:

    Maisie, the choices you make about what you do don’t start after college, they start when you start designing, students who want to do the kind of pro-bank/corporate work that the brief is about will do it anyway, we are making the case for not doing that, you don’t have to, and you don’t need this kind of work in your portfolio to get a job.

    We understand it’s tough out there (we work too!) but it’s tough because of the banks! Their reckless activity has caused both the collapse of the economy and the tripling of tuition fees, you and every other student should be angry about this, add into the fact that every other aspect of civilised life in this country (and elsewhere) is being undermined-think privatisation of the health service, sky-high rents and house prices, the massive increase in the cost of living-and we really can’t and won’t apologise for taking a radical stand against that and encouraging others to. The issues are far too important for all of us, and lying about what is going on (as the student designs do, unfortunately) helps neither them nor anyone else.

  11. Occupy Design says:

    James, the crisis was caused by the banks gambling not households, and as you can see in the blog post on why the financial sector is to blame, most of the debt in this country is held by the banks. Yes we do think the majority of people if asked would agree that the banks should pay not the poorest and most vunerable, nor should we pay by having our health and education systems privatised. This is the 6th richest country in the world it can afford to give £800 billion to the banks but not have free education? Please we are not stupid! It seems your thinking is unable to shift beyond the viewpoint of the Market. Education is not a commodity, nor are students customers.

    We understand that Venture Three asked of the whole of the City to be branded/considered it’s just those small businesses will also be suffering because of the crisis and if you saw the briefing you would know the main thrust was to sell the City, one of the most undemocratic places we have, to the world. You ask what’s wrong with the rich? The last 30 years has seen 1% of society take nearly all the wealth we all make, if you think this has no effect then you aren’t paying attention, the riots last summer didn’t happen because people are happy and well off and a society that keeps becoming more unequal is one that will become more violent, more nasty and more aggressive.

    Lastly, we are not hippies, we are not trying to live on an island away from everyone else, this argument that using the products made by other workers delegitimises any protest at the system that organises those workers is pathetic! No change would have ever happened for the better if people who are part of society weren’t against parts of it and wanted change, if that’s the best you’ve got then your argument is weak, and yes the movement has plenty of ideas and alternatives even a small look online would show you this, but it’s easier to attack us for wanting a better world I guess, which begs the question what is it you have against the world being better?

  12. […] anger and rebrand the very people who were causing their hardship in the first place.” (Deband the City) Now this is a fair point, and a good one. But winning competitions such as D&AD awards are the […]

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