My first influence and a recurring theme in my work is the logo for a brand of dog food called Spratts. I first saw it on an enamel sign outside a pet shop near my house, and remember thinking how really clever it was to make a picture from letterforms. I was about eight years old and it was the first piece of graphic design I was ever aware of, and it stayed with me.
Another childhood memory is of a trip to Germany where I noticed that the type on the road signs was so much more interesting than in it was in the UK . This in turn led to a fascination with lettering and eventually led me into a career in graphic design.
At college I was taught calligraphy and lettering by William Cartner, a craftsman of the old school who had us doing life drawing classes using type as our subject instead of models. Although tedious at the time, it proved to be very useful later in my career.
Another almost accidental influence came from looking through some old type books. I discovered Roger Excoffon’s fonts Choc, Banco and Calypso, which were a real breath of fresh air in the anal-retentive days of ‘ranged left Helvetica’.
In the 1970s I went to California and was influenced and impressed by the graphic style of roadside motel signs. These were an influence that crops up in much of my later work.
More than anything, expressive typography will always be my passion and continues to be an inspiration for me.