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Saville to keep £120,000 a year city salary

Council looking to share cost of its creative designer

Published on October 21st 2010.


Saville to keep £120,000 a year city salary

Well-known graphic designer Peter Saville will continue to receive a £120,000 salary to act as creative designer for Manchester City Council.

The council, which up until now was responsible for paying Saville’s £10,000 monthly fee, is looking to reduce its share by 40 per cent, however, splitting the cost with project partners. That means the council will still be paying around £72,000 towards his annual fee.

Saville will work on projects including the Manchester International Festival this year, as well as initiatives headed up by Marketing Manchester. Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, told Manchester Confidential that Saville was instrumental in promoting the city on a world stage.

"Peter Saville has played and continues to play a vital role in the evolution of Manchester on a national and international stage,” he said.

"As creative director, his talent - and passion – for Manchester has helped drive forward our Original Modern vision for the city. He has been instrumental in defining how Manchester presents itself to the world and his role has been instrumental across a range of projects including international exhibitions and festivals, council communications activity including on very practical issues like school attendance and foster carer recruitment, the city's cultural strategy and the new Metrolink design.

"He is a high profile figure and respected designer, as evidenced by the fact he was chosen to design the new England football kit, and also serves as an ambassador for the city.

"The budget he receives of £10,000 per month reflects the work he delivers and includes all expenses. In comparative terms it is very reasonable for a designer of Peter's calibre and reputation, however, in common with all council expenditure, this is scrutinised to ensure it delivers the best value for money.

"Peter Saville's work is supporting projects across Manchester so not all of this activity will be funded by the council in the future. The council will still contribute to its proportion of the fee, but the cost will be shared with partner agencies."

Editorial comment
So is he worth it? Well if the man really does as much work as the council says, then cracking stuff. If they’re clutching at straws to justify the £120k then it’s not so good. The problem with Saville is we’re in the dark. And so perhaps are the Council.

Of course it’s good to have a designer of Saville’s calibre representing the city internationally. He’s a credible name.

It’s also good for morale as it shows our commitment to thinking creatively about creativity. Well, good for morale for those who are savvy in such matters - only a small proportion of the general population. Not that there aren't rumblings amongst Manchester's design businesses who think the £120k should ripple out to local employers.

Editorially at Confidential we like Saville being associated with the city. He’s no grey bureaucratic man in a grey municipal suit. Talk to him and he thinks about the big picture. Because he lives in London he offers perspective. He looks outward not inward. Ask him about Manchester’s place in the world and you get the most cogent and realistic response around.

We're not sure about the ‘original modern’ strapline he came up with. Very few people really understand it, although many of the other projects outlined in the story above are worthy.

Whether he needs £120k depends on what the international standard for such city consultants is. Maybe it should be £50k, £25K, who knows? But cities need bright people at the top, not just timeservers, clockwatchers and stringpullers. Saville is very bright, not least in his fee negotiations.

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36 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Sign of the times? not really!October 19th 2010.

Wow, a multi-million pound town hall face lift and a highly paid art director. These cuts are hitting home hard arn't they?

AnonymousOctober 19th 2010.

What exactly has he/does he do? Iseem to remember some very expensive wallpaper...

Tamar SmithOctober 19th 2010.

*wrapping paper

AnonymousOctober 19th 2010.

I stand corrected :)

Smyth HarperOctober 19th 2010.

I used to wear a municipal suit, but then the club I wore it to closed down...

Municipal suitOctober 19th 2010.

Grey, ill-fitting, worn reluctantly because staff have been told to wear it. That'll be the kind of thing.

Smyth HarperOctober 19th 2010.

No, no. Mine had tassles. And spandex. It was gorgeous.

R GrovesOctober 19th 2010.

Honestly Smitty I worked in the Town Hall for years and never saw that. Mine was grey and ill-fitting and I was reluctant to wear it.

Anon tooOctober 19th 2010.

I'd say that two or maybe three creative agencies could do the work for £70k.

AnonymousOctober 19th 2010.

ANON TWO

If you do then they are underselling themselves, 70k for 1 years work from a creative agency... maybe on minimum wage and all junior staff.

It's easy to knock Saville but he has more kudos and respect worldwide than any other Manchester design studio and for that you have to pay someone a wage.

VogueOctober 19th 2010.

That picture of him at the Manchester Fashion awards. Was that while he was saying 'I hope they get someone else to do this next year'? Obviously loves his job.

EARL OF DIDSBURYOctober 19th 2010.

MORE PUBLIC SECTOR WASTE !, COME ON GEORGE OSBOURNE TARGET THESE TOWN HALLS NEXT ,, THEY JUST LOVE WASTING OUR MONEY ON PEOPLE AND PROJECTS WE JUST DONT NEED !

ConManOctober 19th 2010.

I fully support what the council are trying to do here. The city needs to market itself effectively in order to attract investment and Saville seems to have created a very credible and coherent message which successfully builds on the city's identity. It feels organic and distinctive without beating the intended audience around the head. It has a sophistication that many other cities' campaigns lack. If I have a criticism, and this echoes points raised in the article, the subtlety of the Original Modern campaign is probably also its achilles heel. It doesn't feel like it is exploited as much as it could be. Its also unclear how it is embedded across the spectrum of the council's activities such as education, planning, regeneration, economic development etc. But like most creative activity, its very easy to measure how much it costs to commission but much more difficult to calculate the value-added of the end-product.

Irene CroftOctober 19th 2010.

As a Manchester City Council employee who, like thousands of others, has been made aware of 'a requirement for flexibility' on our side, including imminent pay cuts and having to be moved from one job to a lesser paid one on a whim, I am largely unimpressed. And that, I can assure you, is a VERY nice way of putting it. It clearly makes more sense to cut the salaries of the lower paid employees. Labour council? Bah!

AnonymousOctober 19th 2010.

Conman, are you Saville's PA? What utter bullsit and waffle

JSOctober 19th 2010.

Conman I praise your lucidity and agree wholeheartedly

Easy to say in your towerOctober 20th 2010.

@ conman, in short want you are saying is that he has failed...

I also agree wholeheartedly , cuts should be made first on the periphery of a society's niceties in the first instance and the wrapping paper boys failure is no exception inward investment is not going to be encouraged like this no matter who we think he is 'Art Cirlcles'

Easy to say I your towerOctober 20th 2010.

Sorry for the grammar, bleeding iPhone !

JoeOctober 20th 2010.

Cut the crap nobody at MCC should be paid more than 40,000 period , if u wanna be a designer/architect whatever go set your own business up , dont leech on Mancunian citizens !

AnonymousOctober 20th 2010.

Joe - he has his own business, you should maybe read up on who he actually is and learn something about Manchester history

Jesus JoeOctober 20th 2010.

Just because your on five quid an hour. Monkey = peanuts etc. For him, support staff, expenses etc £120k is not bad value for the outputs they get

mediaOctober 20th 2010.

I work in the creative industry and that fee is pretty reasonable, especially for a london based creative agency. Anon Two is quite right, you'd only get the most junior staff for £70k a year and splitting it across numerous agencies would lose any coherence across messaging. The other important thing to bear in mind is that this is not a salary, as stated this covers all expenses as well (presumably rent, travel, utilities, staffing costs?) so is not going to all be money in his pocket.

AnonymousOctober 20th 2010.

When Saville started non one knew who he was... D you think the council gave a damn? Nope. Now he is successful everyone is all over him. Fair play to him... However 120k? Let's think about this... As I mentioned- When Saville started non one knew who he was... Well there's another Saville out there now somewhere and working for peanuts with no chance to prove themselves... Why not fond the future and give them a shot rather than the typical recent mancunian approach - to dwell on the past, the factor days. Your 20 odd years to late MCC... Think about nurturing our own creative talent rather than shoving all our money down the throat of a memory. Let's see something fresh, something new someONE fresh, someONE new! No?

the guy off the front of the arctic monkeys albumOctober 20th 2010.

why do grown men feel the need to pose for photos with a cigarette on the go?

I could already tell he was dead edgy because he's got longish hair, the fag is just over kill.

AnonymousOctober 20th 2010.

Jealousy in the house

Dave BishopOctober 20th 2010.

Is he responsible for the godawful grey and yellow trams then?

AnonymousOctober 20th 2010.

The term 'Creative Director' just seems a bit strange to me. How do you direct creativity exactly? Anyhow, Ian Simpson would be far better. Genuinely respected throughout the world and bothers to live here. Has achieved more in his career.

BRING ON THE CUTS!October 20th 2010.

I WANDER IF THIS GUY COULD GET A JOB IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR ? LET ALONE WITH THAT SALARY PAID FOR BY MANCHESTER'S POOREST.

MEGAFONEOctober 20th 2010.

NOT IF HE SHOUTS AT THE INTERVIEW HE WON'T!

DescartesOctober 20th 2010.

I'd love to see a list of things he's supposed to do/have done for us and a pound value next to it.

EG: Designed football kit - worth: £10,000

Thought up Manchester International Festival worth: taught kids in Crumpsall to appreciate art, stopped £5,000 of robberies and five lives of crime.

DescartesOctober 20th 2010.

Also: I may not always be the brightest brick in the wall but how does he define how Manchester presents itself to the world - are there some kind of weekly memo's he sends up to us each week that I've not been getting?

And finally: isn't the "new" Metrolink design ripped off colour for colour from the Stockholme metro?

AnonymousOctober 20th 2010.

Did he not design that stripy capital 'M'? Come on,that's worth £120k alone. I remember fondly at school, trying to tape together pens of four different colours......

AnonymousOctober 20th 2010.

Also, there may well be a re-think at the Council, now the spending review plans have been laid down - how can they really jusify this expenditure?

BRING ON THE CUTSOctober 21st 2010.

I WISH I COULD OPT OUT OF MY COUNCIL , JUST PAY MY MONEY TO A PRIVATE REFUGE COLLECTION COMPANY TO GET MY BINS EMPTIED , DONT HAVE OR WANT KIDS SO NOWT TO SCHOOLS AND CERTAINLY NONE OF MY HARD EARNED MONEY TO PAY FOR SILLY JOBS LIKE THIS GUY OR FOR OVERPAID FAT CATS AT MANCHESTER TOWN HALL .

Simone13024October 21st 2010.

Rather than being creative, Peter Saville, probably through no fault of his own, associates Manchester with what many outsiders think Manchester needs to get over. Rough and ready yet stylish Northerner who made it on the back of Madchester, a bit cocky and likes a laarf. If he had the swagger then he'd be a walking stereotype. There are far better candidates who, although they may not have the romance connection of having been invovled in Madchester, would provide a better service for the money spent. If we need to spend it at all.

grrrrOctober 21st 2010.

refuse . . not refuge. and you would a lot more to a private contractor

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