So far, so what.
I went to Portsmouth for the foundation course and on to Canterbury for three years Graphic Design. It was a year before Ian Dury turned up to be a Fine Art tutor. He formed Kilburn and the High Roads and looking back, it was a fun place to be. I was there with madly missed Geoff Appleton, who should have been on the Fine Art course, but the authorities thought he should be an illustrator. Which indeed he turned out to be, with great distinction.
I’ve always been a designer who likes to draw. Long before stock photography became a quick way of showing a client a visual, and naturally, before designers were hidden behind their Macs, design was a chatty, fun business..
When I worked in Camden in the early 70s, we were expecting a visit from Tim Clark of Island Records. John Bonis and I were producing messy pastel drawings for poster ideas. He held up a fantastic picture of a man in a suit jumping across a river. He had fish instead of feet. John said he thought his image needed a headline. I thought so too. “How about get your skates on?” A minute later that was the headline drawn in Bonis Sans; a convincing Franklin Gothic. Unforgettable fun.
Snap of me and John Bonis in 1975. Note the Franklin Gothic Letraset, Cowgum tin full of Pentel 67s and lunch.
It should be fun. Intelligent fun. The best design, like the best music, art, drama or poetry or whatever needs to leave a space for the audience to fill in a little something for themselves. It should give pause.