"We are going to get the pee taken out of us, big time," said one of the Culture Secretary's closest civil servants in an unguarded e-mail to a colleague.
Their only hope, suggested Tony Dyer, Mr Smith's private secretary, was that, "No 10 will stop the madness".
Clearly someone in Whitehall decided the best way to avoid the "childish" logo going ahead was to leak the details of the e-mail. But the logo is remarkably mundane: the initials "DCMS" in white letters on a coloured background, inside the outline of a square.
What the leak reveals is an identity crisis among the men at the ministry. "Our aim is to be taken as a grown-up economic department in Whitehall. The logo conveys no such message," said Mr Dyer.