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21 February 2018
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Friday, 24th August 2012
Two Typographers
who changed my life
I’ll always remember the time I spent 13 uninterrupted hours painting a detailed rendition of the word ‘MAD’. It was inspired by Pop Art and my interest in letterforms. It was 1967 and I was 13 years old. 

At the age of 16 to my teachers disgust I left school and embarked on a foundation course at my local art college in Bolton. I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer and I was excited at the prospect of the journey that lay ahead. And it was there that I discovered through a final year graphics student – the work of Herb Lubalin. The student was Phil Grimshaw who was soon to start at the Royal College of Art and would later become a prolific and respected typographer in his own right. Phil’s work was very much influenced by Herb Lubalin at that time and I too immediately bacame a fan of his work. I marvelled at the way he linked and combined letters, the tightness of his kerning and leading that created a new way of presenting type.

Back then everything was done by hand. I learnt to master the art of hand drawn type with a Rotring Rapidograph on CS10 art board. I learnt how to master ruling pens, compasses and the right consistency of ink and gouache to achieve the perfect line. But I was never going to be a Herb Lubalin or Phil Grimshaw. My journey was a little less disciplined. 

My first degree was in Illustration and inspired by Phil Grimshaw and following in his footsteps I later went on to study at the Royal College of Art. Once there it became all about the ideas and less about the execution. I’ve always loved Herb Lubalin’s work, not just because of the meticulous attention to detail and execution of his work but the integration of wonderful ideas. 

United Editions have just published a numbered, limited edition, deluxe monograph of the legendary designers work. I eagerly await my copy which I ordered this morning.

Sadly neither Herb or Phil are still with us but their work continues to inspire.