Irish Water (who spent €50,000,000 on consultants in 2013, but that's another story) hires Dublin-based Zero-G to create a new brand identity. The Daily Mail reports the fee as "€20,000 — €5,000 per word."

Irish Water logo by Zero-GCredit: Laura Hutton, Photocall Ireland

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) gets wind of the story and thinks Irish Water spent too much on the design, then offers an alternative.

"We decided to use a cost effective micro-job website to pay an online seller to create a logo for Irish Water.

"This cost a reasonable $5 which was donated by a member of our staff. All we had to do was upload some brand specifications and wait seven days for our logo. It took all of ten minutes."

Irish Water logo clipart

But the alternative design (shown above) turns out to be royalty-free clipart downloaded from a stock website, which if used would inevitably lead to copyright infringement.

Water clipart

A five second Google search finds the same icon in another company logo (albeit botched).

Fair play to DIT students Emma Grattan and Derek Doyle who wrote an open letter asking the USI to stop belittling the profession they're studying to enter.

"Your response to the current debate around the value and status of the design profession in Ireland represents the kind of cheap race to the bottom that undercuts the value and worth of good design. It not only demonstrates a lack of familiarity on your part as to what is involved in the process of design but, much more alarmingly, it exposes a lack of awareness as to the breadth of courses whose students you represent."

As is often the case with tabloid stories, the focus is on two things: the money, and the logo.

And inevitably, there'll be non-designers who think identity design shouldn't cost more than a beer, there'll be publicly-funded companies who are reluctant to hire reputable designers for fear of a backlash, and we see more clipart as logos, more cases of copyright infringement.

The €20K payment to Zero-G "included complete branding for all sections of the semi-state company, not just the logo." But it's details like those that don't sell as many newspapers or get as many clicks.