High-profile logos head east

PERTH design firms are losing high-profile contracts to the east, with key WA Government agencies and big businesses like Woodside heading interstate to spruce up their corporate images.

Even a State Government policy to favour local suppliers has failed to stop the drain of accounts largely to Melbourne’s Cato Partners, which created the Ministry of Sport and Recreation’s controversial Way2Go identity, as well as WA Tourism Commission’s Brand WA, East Perth Redevelopment Authority’s logo and even BankWest’s brand.

The inclusion of Cato’s representative office in Perth on the State Government’s Contract and Management Services (CAMS) list of ‘approved contractors’ has helped the national giant win such substantial government design projects in WA.

Cato, which has a one-man representative office in Perth, has also successfully wooed the State’s private industry, with Ken Cato and his Melbourne design team developing “significant global branding” for Woodside.

The $20,000 launch of the $47,000 corporate identity Way2Go highlighted the number of big design briefs going east.

CAMS ministerial and media liaison manager Chris Avent said the agency’s approved contractors list was predominantly made up of local suppliers, although it was not restricted to WA businesses.

“I think you’d find every single one listed would have a presence in WA,” Mr Avent said.

Cato Partners representative John Woods said that Cato had established the credentials which won WA decision makers.

“If you had a brain tumour you’d go to the best person, wouldn’t you?” Mr Woods said.

He said part of Cato’s success was the level of strategic support provided after the creative design completion by affiliate agency Forbes, which he works for in Perth.

This strategic support was cited by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation as one of the reasons they chose to proceed with Cato Partners and not one of the local design firms involved in the tender.

State Supply Commission manager strategic policy and advice Phillip Turner said his agency also had a Buy Local policy which was introduced in November 2000.

“The policy is designed so that government agencies procure a minimum of 70 per cent of their business from local firms,” Mr Turner said.

“The intent of the policy is so local people are employed.”

But it appears it is still very difficult for small WA design firms to compete with the might of Cato Partners which boasts a client list including, Qantas, Commonwealth Bank, Bedshed, BankWest, WA Tourism, and Woodside.

Enterprise IG director Russell Springham said the local design industry had to educate the business community and give them the confidence to work with the highly awarded local design industry.

“I don’t hold the view that we should get the work just because we’re West Australian, but there is an element of ‘Western Cringe’, therefore clients looking for best practice look east,” he said.

“We do have the same capabilities and we’re not doing our job if work is going to someone like Cato.”

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