John Gorham taught me at the Royal College of Art in the 1970s, when I was studying graphic design. He’d lope in wearing a black beret and black greatcoat, looking for all the world like Hercule Poirot on mescaline.
He was one of the few tutors at the time who were on the “hot list” of practitioners, and I had the pleasure to work with him after I left the college.
He was a craftsman. Demanding and pernickety, yet softly spoken and dry as a bone. He had a way of making you realise that – bold and bushy-tailed as we graduates were – we knew dick about the underlying rhythm and process of really great work. But being John, he would never have said that outright.
Generous to a fault and unassuming in spirit, it was John’s forensic abilities, his compendious knowledge of typographical craft, that really set him apart.
I’ll never forget him telling me, one evening over a Pimms, that what he wanted more than anything else was to be asked to be a Pentagram partner – he secretly craved the salutation and respect of his peers, but he never let that get in the way of his calling: creating the best stuff he possibly could. He was a gent.
We’re all diminished at his loss.