Early working years

It took me a long time after leaving college to get a job as there was a recession in England at that time. Six months later, towards the end of 1969 I Ianded a job as junior designer, with a design company in New Cavendish Street , central London, called Design International. They practised an ‘International Style’ design style with an English sensibility, more humanistic than the Swiss, softer, and they sometimes replaced Helvetica with Gill which gave their work a British resonance. Design International were not overtly specialized, we did everthing from house styles, exhibition design, packaging, surface graphics , to patterns for products. It was a very good introduction to the real world of graphic design. The director, Jack Foxell was a kind gentle man and a Gentleman, he looked after us very well, we never worked late and if we had family or personal problems they took precedence over work. I had a chance to work across the board – one day on a packaging project, a week on a signage system for an exhibition, or a few hours contributing with the other designers designing patterns for a vacuum flask, or designing a house style. The way we worked was very methodical working through a project in a logical and systematic way, not dissimilar to my education at Ravensbourne. Jack Foxell always insisted on clear typography, he personally liked Gill but never insisted on it, and we always ranged left.

I followed that that up two and a half years later as a packaging designer with a company near Three Bridges in Sussex. The company Talmadge Drummond were specialised in creating new bottle and flask shapes. An interesting job and while I was there I tried with every project to do at least one totally typographic solution. Not many went through but Keiller’s marmalade did. It was my first true lettering job, unfortunately I did not artwork the finished lettering, that was done by the studio next door.

My final working career as an enployed designer was with John Brimacombe and Partners in Maddox Street, London W1. I was senior packaging designer, the work was much more commercial than at Talmadge Drummond and I often felt out of my depth. I also had the feeling that it was time to leave bosses behind and to go freelance. I was really excited about trying to become a lettering designer. I had made many contacts and when John Brimacombe realised my intentions he eased me out. The first six months were fairly difficult but I survived!