John Gillard, who died on the 28 October, was one of the most controversial and colourful teachers that any of us will experience. For many, our first point of contact with him was at the London School of Printing, where he bullied us to look at things differently and break the rules – recognising that good was never good enough.
Sadly, one-off characters are rarely recognised by decision-makers in design education, and Gillard was discarded as a bit of an educational mad man – but not, however, by those who loved and cherished him.
In 1985, a number of us masterminded The School of Communication Art with Gillard. This became a huge success, sponsored by those in the business who care for design, advertising and communication and paralleling Gillard’s view about the importance of our creative skills in business today.
Gillard was always full of mad ideas to make our work better, accompanied often by the famous kick, shove or clout. We shall miss him, but have cause to celebrate one of the greatest influences in our lives.
Gillard is survived by his wife Ros, daughter Sarah and sons Paul, Claude and Tom.