“When I was a junior junior at Pentagram in 1977, Alan Fletcher used to walk around his team, and without saying anything help himself to one of his assistant’s cigarettes, in front of them. No one said anything. After a while of this he came to my desk again. As his hand reached down to my cigarettes, I chirped up: ‘Either pay me money so I can buy more fags or f*** off and buy you own.’ A small smile crossed his mouth and ever since then we’ve got on very well together.”
So begins Professor Phil Cleaver’s book What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School, a timely new title that aims to bridge that difficult gap between the end of university and the start of a career in the design industry. Of course anecdotes like this are tremendous fun and add some nice colour, but Phil’s book is far more practically-minded than this opening gambit suggests, with chapters dedicated not only to practical skills but also interview and portfolio tips and the nitty gritty of things like invoicing and good email etiquette.
We have heard time and again about the need for an initiative like this, but in the wrong hands it could come across as really patronising. Luckily Phil’s style is nicely direct and he has the walk to back up the talk, having worked with the likes of Anthony Froshaug, Michael Wolff, Wim Crouwel and of course Fletcher.
The design too is stylish but not fussy, an important consideration when imparting such useful information.