There have been many important influences in my career, including the seminal National Theatre posters of the late 1960s created by my first employer Ken Briggs and the astonishing – and seemingly endless – stream of big ideas from Minale Tattersfield in the 1970s. And no one of my generation could ignore the quiet explosion of talent that was John Gorham.
But the truly inspirational force on me was my art teacher at Bromley Technical High School, Owen Frampton.
Two great, public examples of the results of his motivational genius as a teacher are his son, Peter, and David Jones (Bowie), who recalls ‘Mr Frampton’ as ‘an excellent art teacher and an inspiration’. Others include Brian Grimwood and George Underwood.
The school ‘losers’ – the art stream – weren’t a lost cause for him. How to look immaculate (trim and petite in brown suede shoes) and impeccable manners were the least he taught us.
His ambition to have his secondary school course recognised as an accredited pre-Diploma year by art colleges was uniquely fulfilled in 1967. He achieved this by encouraging a passion for design which involved us designing book jackets, album covers, TV credits, posters, fabrics, ceramics and furniture at the age of 16.
Most of his pupils took advantage of his pre-Diploma year and went on to art college or straight into design and advertising agencies (often as a result of an introduction from him via his extensive network of professional contacts).
Without Frampton’s early influence on my life I wouldn’t have known that such a thing as design existed, let alone embraced it as a career. ‘Thank you, Sir.’