‘So who or what inspires you?’ This used to be a regular question wheeled out for art college assessments or job interviews. As a graphic designer I was always expected to respond with a pre-selected luminary from the same field – such as Neville Brody, David Carson or Wally Olins.

However, my influences always gravitated towards something more substantial: a love of all things Apple, therefore Jonathan Ive; quirky – Philippe Starck; or automotive – Ian Callum.

Call me shallow, but if I can touch and interact with something in a third dimension, I’m hooked – I’ve always been a sucker for a soft-eject tape deck.

So how and why did I end up as a graphic designer? When I was a kid, I used to love to draw and paint, but in the 1980s, at the age of 12, I stumbled across the Sinclair ZX Spectrum – an unusual-looking gadget with rubber keys and a metal case that looked more like a calculator than the pioneer of the home computer revolution.

Call me odd – many have – but my childhood disappeared in a blur as a friend and I started our own computer magazine and software company off the back of this innovative little box.

Without the Spectrum, I wouldn’t have acquired the taste for design that lives with me now, more intensely than ever.

Thanks, Sir Clive Sinclair, I owe you a pint if we ever meet up.

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