Mike Dempsey – Studio Dempsey

Mike Dempsey

There are two things that upset me about some of my fellow designers a disregard for handwriting and the voice. Both are fundamental in communicating with others.

Since childhood I have loved the sound of the human voice. Not just any voice, but those belonging to people who know what a gift they have, honed and cherished for maximum effect. Few people in our industry seem to grasp what an asset it can be. In presentations they rush, mumble, repeat, splutter and stumble, and then wonder why things didn’t go well.

I fell in love with voices through radio and cinema in the 1950s. Even though I was raised in a deeply working class area, with the obligatory cockney accent, my ear quickly attuned to the mellifluous tones of actors like Ronald Colman, Robert Donat, Laurence Olivier and Orson Wells. At ten I could identify a whole raft of radio actors the moment they uttered a few words.

I still have that ability and spend a lot of time at live theatre, where the experience of hearing trained voices at work is sheer pleasure. One of the most beautiful voices at work today belongs to the actor Samuel West (pictured below). He could read the telephone directory and I would be captivated.

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