Hot fifty – Mike Dempsey

It was new year, new start for Mike Dempsey. The eminent graphic designer quit CDT Design, the consultancy he founded in 1979 with Ken Carroll and Nick Thirkell, to go it alone.

A former D&AD president, he left CDT Design with a portfolio of iconic work for the likes of English National Opera, British Land and Royal Mail, for which he oversaw the impressive Millennium Stamps collection. Since then, he has worked on more harrowing projects, notably for the Helen Bamber Foundation, the charity that rescues and rehabilitates victims of torture and human trafficking, with illustrator Laura Carlin and writer Tom Lynham. We can expect more of this calibre of work in his new incarnation, and also more design writing from him.

But it is for his extra-curricular work that Dempsey earns his place in the Hot 50. As Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry in its 75th year, he harnessed the immense talent of the Royal Designers, setting them to work on promotional projects such as a series of postcards and a series of talks at the Royal Society of Arts in London and interviewing several of them himself for the website, to promote design to a wider audience.

He also took the opportunity to champion sound design within the faculty and beyond, and will no doubt continue his campaign. The pressure is now on for his successor as master of the RDIs, design engineer Chris Wise of Expedition.

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