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Say ‘no’ to Tax Cuts. Please.

Anyone reading Speak Up working on the taxpayer’s dime? I’m presently the sole designer in a large state government division. I’m enjoying several aspects of the job (easy going clients, decent pay check, no layoffs) but am feeling a little isolated from the day-to-day inspiration that I would get at a design firm.

I’m currently tasked with the chore of designing a logo for our division. A fun project, but I’ve found a total lack of resources for government-based design inspiration. Does anyone have anything to share in terms of good/bad experiences either working in a government position or working for a government client?

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PUBLISHED ON Jan.23.2003 BY darrel
d’s comment is:

I once had a contract with a British Government committee that had sixteen ministers meet to decide how to set up online sites for each ministry. (Agriculture etc.)

So they needed a 'consultant' to inform them what could and could not be done online.

I was paid an insane amount of money, by the hour, to sit in the room and read magazines whilst they argued about when they could next meet to discuss things, because stuff hadn't been answered in previous meetings.

I was asked one question in all my meetings - about Jpegs versus Gifs and I went back to reading magazines at 400 dollars an hour, for up to four hours at a time.

My experience was that nothing was accomplished and in the end I stopped going to the meetings. Other than that - it was a reasonably pleasant experience - and I was 22 at the time - so it was a big deal.

On Jan.23.2003 at 01:26 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Nevermind my topic...I want to know how you go about billing at $400 an hour! ;o)

On Jan.23.2003 at 02:39 PM
d’s comment is:

The truth is, I never set that price. I was 'given' it. And it may have worked out to 380 an hour - what I remember is that it was about 300 pounds an hour - and it worked out to be an insane amount of money for simply being present.

A friend's company was building their web sites, and needed to send someone down to London for the meetings. I thought I was some big shot who would have to argue and educate these ministers endlessly, through all day meetings.

Luckily, that was not the case, and it put me off being either a politician or a civil servant. But reinforced my desire to work for the Government as a contractor.

On Jan.23.2003 at 03:39 PM
Chris’s comment is:

I'm right there with you. I work as the sole designer in a small state government agency and it's sometimes really hard to find a direction without input from other designers. It'd be nice to kick around some ideas with someone else.

The good side is that I've found I can experiment more because I've been fairly successful in supporting my design. So once I find an inspiration and mess around with it for a bit, my mock-up is normally close to the final outcome.

Also, I used to give people options but I find that I don't do that too much anymore because they always pick the wrong one and then I'm stuck looking at it all the time. Of course that might not work with a logo on the scope that you're talking about but because I can't give the job to someone else, it's important that I can at least live with the designs I develop.

On Jan.23.2003 at 04:49 PM
Todd’s comment is:


I can't read a word of it but it's one of the nicest gov't-affiliated sites I've ever seen (Austrian). Not that I've seen many. But this is pretty nice gov't or not.

I may be biased but most Americans seem to have either horrid taste or more often, none at all. And would completely freak out if they discovered a gov't agency spending money on good design. You'd think our last presidential "election" might have shown the importance of design a bit, but nope. "What channel is The Bachelor on???"

Oh, I'm American so I can say all this (well so far... )

On Jan.23.2003 at 10:10 PM