Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Number10 times the rage

And so the anger over the Downing Street website rolls ever onwards. One of the most scathing reviews of the design of the site comes from the Ministry of Type.
Get that: The official online presence for the leader of (allegedly) the fifth richest country in the world is a crummy beta site with dodgy kerning, inconsistent use of typefaces, colours, rounded corners, spacing, and, well everything apart from general crumminess. Look at the masthead. It’s in Clarendon, Times New Roman Bold and Georgia. The typographic soup continues with the addition of Arial for body text (and oddly, some headlines too), and on a graphic, Copperplate. There are boxes with rounded corners at the top but not the bottom, containing images that also have rounded corners but where the curvature doesn’t match the container (and appears to be damaged by JPEG artifacting on most images). The site is a mess.

The hard bits, especially for a site as prominent as this, is to ensure security, that the background infrastructure can handle the traffic and (importantly) all your content is written and entered into the site. Is this a site that got designed and implemented by several groups who never communicated?

Well, given that it was a site that was commissioned by the public sector, the answer is almost certainly "yes". It is one of the reasons that private companies tend to charge over the odds for public sector projects: these things often turn into a sheer nightmare of working with large groups made up of ever-changing personnel whose requirements change with every meeting and with every additional attendee.

Nevertheless, there is no excuse for the copyright theft of the template, especially as the designers of the site have not only stolen the design and claimed it as their own but they have also failed to pay for it.
Dizzy’s blog has had an interesting visitor today Anthony Baggett; the author of the theme that is used on the Downing Street WordPress website. He says:
“Hi guys, I’m the theme author and can’t find any record of them paying for the theme. I’m not sure at this point what my options are, but I’m looking into it.”

Whoops. Somebody could be in big trouble here. Copyright infringement is theft. Do not accept it. Demand a genuine theme from your designer.

For a full-service agency and the UK Government to go around ripping off themes is wholly unacceptable. If you or I had done something like this we’d find ourselves in court.

And quite rightly so. Not only do these fucking bastards steal our money to pay for their over-priced WordPress site, but they then steal the creative concepts of other people...

What a collection of shitheads.


Anonymous said...

Does this mean Number 10 is in receipt of stolen goods?

countdruncula said...

As I understand it the theme was licensed under the Creative Commons so no payment necessary although they fucked up by not attributing it properly.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Tee hee.

But not as funny as the gummint website with the swastika. Can you do that one again?

Anonymous said...

Fancy having some fun with the PM's new site? Fire it up in your favourite browser, then when its done, slap the following command in the address bar:

javascript: document.body.contentEditable = 'true'; document.designMode = 'on'; void 0

Then press Enter - the effects aren't permanent (sadly) but its mildly amusing for a few minutes.

Old BE said...

I can just imagine Comrade Brown or one of his henchpeople asking "can I have the icon in cornflower blue?"...

Elby the Beserk said...

"Nevertheless, there is no excuse for the copyright theft of the template, especially as the designers of the site have not only stolen the design and claimed it as their own but they have also failed to pay for it."

Given that they have, to all intents and purposes, stolen the country in front of us all ("So what"...), this is a minor infraction.

And I hope Mr. Baggett sues the bollocks off them. Fucking bunch of barrow boys could run the country better, and with more integrity. Tend to the tumbrils, and sharpen the gullotine, I feel the time to knit has come again.

Anonymous said...


Nuff said.

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