Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When I was 14, I wanted to be...


a) a 'graphic designer' with a Filofax, sports car and a flat on the top floor of a block in Birmingham, because my Dad had taken me and my mate to Aston University and impressed us with its paternoster lift

b) a concert violinist / pianist or

c) a writer of fiction...possibly for a newspaper (I'd have been snapped up by the Daily Mail!).

I became none of these, but as often happens in life, all three things stayed relevant. I do fiction book covers and write blogs, I play music constantly albeit other people's (I still have my violin, I don't play it anymore), and I work with graphic designers - even doing the odd magazine cover.

This was my first attempt. I oversaw the design and layout of the school 3rd year magazine Reflection, replete with hand-rendered masthead in Stop, which I'd learned to draw with my eyes closed from copying Thompson Twins album sleeves. Note the different typographic treatments for the contents list, which are comparable with the Sight & Sound covers I was doing last year. Inside are hand-drawn headers (I'm doing one of those now for a client) and adverts, which also pepper my folio.

It's a magnificent time capsule, with a guide to what computers we were using. You'll see Apple weren't even on the scene then, but you could have an Amstrad, a Dragon or a Sinclair, as the article by the school computer nerd shows. Record (yes record) reviews were for Duran Duran, Madonna, King, The Eurythmics, Divine and Howard Jones - Dead or Alive in particular get a very dismissive one-line review for 'Sophisticated Boom Boom'.

Fellow designer Jason Bailey I'm still in touch with now, he and his wife running their own Berlin studio, Bailey und Bailey. Julie Neale went on to become a wedding stationery designer, and Kevin Rose also made it to the creative industry. We're the only three that did, but I'd love to show this to the whole gang, as I suspect copies are as rare as that jigsaw-shaped Thompson Twins picture disc still upstairs in the pile.

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