Although it may seem like a mere footnote to the design industry, I know the news of the retirement of Ray Gregory – the long standing head of the BA Design course at Norwich University College of the Arts (formerly the Norwich School of Art and Design) – will affect many people within it. His retirement is a real loss to the future of the industry.
Ray was at Norwich for more than 20 years and taught some of the design industry’s biggest players, including Phil Carter and Phil Wong of Carter Wong, the founders of Hat-Trick Design, and Neon creative director/founder Dana Robertson.
His former students can be found in many of the UK’s top design consultancies at every level. Many of them have gone on to win design awards for their creative solutions, and his recent graduates are often sought after, with many gaining employment in design soon after graduation, often in negative economic conditions.
The college is renowned for consistently creating some of the best young designers around, and is often spoken of in the same breath as some of the country’s most respected design institutions, and it’s very much down to Ray’s work.
Ray has achieved mythical status among former students who have made it into design, and he was immortalised in the design industry’s favourite book A Smile in the Mind, not to mention Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Two Tribes music video.
Ray’s teaching style has always been renowned for its ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’ methods and for its industry focused approach.
He will be remembered by his famous motto, ‘Do it, to see it, to do it’, referring to trying out a concept to see if it works, before throwing out the idea or progressing with it.
So, on behalf of the rest of the Norwich alumni, I’d like to take the opportunity to say, ‘So long, and thanks for the ideas.’
And the very best of luck to whoever fills the position. We’ll all be watching.
Gareth Roberts, Designer, Bulletproof Design, by e-mail