If there isn’t already an official ambassador to the world and trade of graphic design, Professor Phil Cleaver should at least be considered to be given that role. With over 40 years in the industry and still counting, he has done it all. Even with a prolific career, he was an extremely humble man and certainly doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing his decades of knowledge and experience with younger designers.
Phil was at The One Academy to deliver, with deadpan humor, his talk titled ‘There is no Boring Design, Only Boring Designer’ where he shared a visual tour through some of the highlights of his career to date in hopes to inspire students and encourage them to perhaps approach graphic design through more ways than one.
In his long and rewarding career, his awards, career details and other contributions are more than one could imagine. To start, he is a Professor in the Creative Industries, Middlesex University. Phil also runs a vibrant design practice et al design consultants ltd since 1992. He played a large role in the 80s wave of Branding and has implemented corporate identities for global clients Visa, BNI Bank, Bank Bali and Bank Duta of Indonesia, Ionian bank of Greece and Alstrom Corporation.
Phil thinks that designing is to see things differently, and as a dyslexic, it is probably literal to him. Growing up without computers and design softwares, he learnt design and typography the old-fashioned way. For instance, he used to hand-draw all his typographies and spent plenty of time doing hot metal typesetting. Despite being an important design tool, he believes that it serves more as a distraction, thus encouraging students to turn them off and work through their mind, body and heart.
Phil is also a winner of D&AD Yellow Pencil, which he proudly describes as “Oscar of the design world”, for most outstanding Corporate Identity Programme, the only winner of that category in over a seven year period. To be creative, he always reminds others to “go back and play” because “risk-taking is play and play is creative”. Designers should also understand the problem, and if they are stuck, keep on reading the brief.