Despite a bit of a silence recently it seems Alan Partridge is alive and well and has moved into the area of graphic/merchandise design, specifically at a firm called iG Design.
iG Design recently pitched for the job of designing the proposed warning labels for packaged alcohol and, as per their brief, duly came up with a series of stark banners for wine and spirit bottle labels highlighting the dangers of liver disease, heart disease, cancer and premature ageing of the skin. Unfortunately, for the skin-ageing banner they made a big mistake. Using a bunch of photos included in their brief from the Department of Health that had detached from original documents (included as background biographies of executives in Britain’s Public Health sector), they did their pitch no favours whatsoever when Public Health heavyweights Linda McAvan, Jackie Ballard, Deborah Arnott and Andrea Crossfield ended up, in grim washed-out colours, as dire examples of alcohol misuse:
However, when the mistake was pointed out to them they made matters even worse. As if Alan Partridge had taken control over their design studio, iG Design sought to make amends by designing a ‘Women of Public Health’ 2015 Calendar, with the four executives recast in beautiful surrounds, flatteringly and patronisingly photoshopped to emphasise, as much as was feasible, vitality and youth.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health was not impressed by the firm’s attempt to make amends. “For iG to suggest they can brush over their frankly insulting mistake with rearguard flattery is patronising in the extreme. It’s almost worse than the original mistake. These are highly accomplished women with serious agendas. They’ve got no interest in a sort of pyjama party version of femininity where your hair and your eyebrows take centre stage. Whoever came up with this idea at iG is woefully off the page. It’s not the bells and whistles on the outside that count, but the substance within.’
Meanwhile, the four executives’ big idea – plain packaging for cigarettes and alcohol, intended to lower the allure of alcohol and cigarettes by sullying their outward appearance – goes on as planned.