Neville Brody – please stick to the designing
I went to the Adobe event at the Business Design Centre, in London, today. I don’t often get to this kind of event and I very rarely am able see or hear the best people in my business. Eighteen years ago when I was pregnant with Flo I went to an event at the Design Museum where I listened to a talk by the man who inspired me to be a graphic designer – Milton Glaser. It was wonderful to hear him speak – he was fascinating, inspirational and had a depth of intellectualism that is sorely lacking in most of us in this rather trivial area of work. Today I got the chance to hear Neville Brody, someone who describes himself as ’the British designer and art director, has now been at the forefront of graphic design for over two decades.’
What a disappointment – he was ill prepared despite the fact that a few hundred people had queued up to hear him speak (and despite the fact that he is a regular on the international lecture circuit) so his talk was full of childhood snapshots and long pauses while he tried to think about what to talk about next. However I could have forgiven all that if it wasn't for the fact that he didn’t allow the truth to get in the way of what he thought would make a good story. He showed us a picture of the Hornsey art college building (which he went to a year before I did) and presented it as a hotbed of revolutionary fervour that eventually was shut down by Thatcher as too great a threat to the establishment.
Well, just to put the record straight, all the revolutionary fervour had happened ten years before (when he would have been about eight years old) and by the time both Neville and I attended it was a very tame part of Middlesex Polytechnic, and rather than Thatcher, the reason the building was sold was that the college had built a shiny new well-equipped building to replace it. The next stab at ‘The Establishment’ was Neville’s ludicrous claim that schools get funding from the Government that is directly related to the children’s results in core academic subjects. Better results – more money and thus no art or music teaching. I found his
Now if he’d just stuck to telling us his favourite typefaces...