The news that Neville is to succeed Dan Fern as head of the Communication Art & Design department at the RCA started me thinking about my time as a student. I got a lot out of it. Previously I had worked as an illustrator/designer at St Bart’s Hospital and wanted to move into mainstream graphic design. When I finished the RCA I took shift work as a graphic artist at the Daily Express for a few months. Then the job at Neville’s came up.
I learned a lot from other students including Frith and Amelia (Kerr/Noble), Sophie & Kristine (Thomas/Matthews), Michael Lenz (Draught) and Reggie Pedro (Gomez artwork). There was a constant flow of exhibitions from students in other depts – photography, printmaking, industrial design, painting, etc.
The teaching staff reflected the experimental and multi-disciplinary philosophy of the course. Dan Fern started as an illustrator, then moved into gallery art, poetry and film. Russel Mills – illustrator, designer, installation artist, musician (Japan, David Sylvian, Brian Eno, NIN). Jon Wozencroft – designer, photographer, record label (Touch) and author (The Graphic Language of Neville Brody).
A recent criticism of Dan’s tenure has been that the course doesn’t prepare it’s students for the reality of work as a graphic designer – too much emphasis on art. I think the course gave it’s students the freedom to experiment. I liked Dan, he was always approachable, supportive and objective. When I needed to know about print production and digital artwork set-up I was referred to Richard Dowes and the litho studio, who exlained it to me. We had live projects from the Royal Mail, Born Free Foundation, War Child Charity, The Folio Society and a millennium project for IDV Distillers. I also took formal practical courses in letterpress (with Alan Kitching) animation/multi-media software and life drawing. There were also regular lectures from industry practitioners.
The above photos are from a stay at Kinnersley Castle near Hay-on-Wye. The image below is of Reggie Pedro at college. (Was having some flash sync/shutter speed problems)