who’s who of london typography in 1987

Posted on Dec 9, 2010 | 10 Comments

Going through some old books of mine I came across this promotional book called “I wouldn’t have done it like that” produced in 1987 by a London typesetting house called ‘Deputy Serif’. They got 8 of the most respected agency typographers/designers in London to take iconic press ads and re-design them. This was before macs were in common use in agencies and work was sent out to type shops. Deputy Serif used the Berthold Diatronic system.

On leaving college I sought to contact all of these people and was lucky enough to be able to show my book to a number of them and some of the advice I got was invaluable to me then and still is today.

Out of the 8 people featured, sadly Maggie Lewis and Brian Hill are no longer with us. I’m not sure what Roz Walter, Nigel Dawson and Keith Mackenzie are up to these days. Roger Kennedy has continued to produce great work at Saatchi and designed the iconic book “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.” by Paul Arden. Len Cheeseman runs his own design studio Ornament in New Zealand. And Robbie Sparks is considered one of the leading experts in training InDesign and Typography in London.

It took me back a bit to see this book and realise how much the way I work has changed since I started out. I spent the first year or two doing type mark-ups before getting my Mac LC. I wonder if I even remember how to do one……mmmmm?


  1. Graham Powell
    December 10, 2010

    Just a glance at Keith Mackenzie’s remake of the Waites ad’ is enough to highlight the need for PROPER typographical input on printed matter.
    Unfortunately, as with most things good, one does not realise the value of something until it has gone!

  2. Rob Sutton
    December 10, 2010

    Thanks for stopping by Graham. I think there is a definite movement back to good typography, particularly on the web which may surprise a few of the more traditional people. There are a number of designers out there fighting the cause. Web, print or screen – good design is good design.

  3. Terry Virgo
    January 13, 2011

    I was a Berthold Diatronic op from leaving school in 1987
    with a company called Telefoto in Lexington Street W1, then joining
    Interest Typographical in Dover Street / Farringdon Road and ending
    my career, well the MAC ended my career, freelancing with Red Lion
    Graphics in Richmond in 1994. Design studios found it was cheaper
    to use Quark XPress in house unfortunately, and to pay peaanuts to
    the operators. But I do agree totally with the other 2 x

  4. Terry Virgo
    January 19, 2011

    Hi Rob, Helicopter do ring a bell. I was based in Lexington House (Basement & Ground Floor). We had the T & M Series.
    When I was at Interset, myself and the MD, Andy Watt, went over to Berthold in Cheam to see their new Post Script Workstations.
    They were Berthold’s answer to Quark & The Mac….a great bit of kit which was far superior, but unfortunately they were way to expensive to invest in. I did learn Quark, Illustrator etc, but I was out the game for far too long.
    Ahhhh the good old days!!!!

  5. Rob Sutton
    January 21, 2011

    For some reason my previous post has disappeared, but this is what I wrote:

    “Hi Terry thanks for your comment. I used to freelance at a place in Lexington Street called Helicopter. They had the Berthold M series, I used to do the type mark-ups in the evenings. This was around the time that the macs started to come to the fore. Even with all the investment Helicopter had made in typesetting equipment their clients were pushing for the mac, as you said it was cheaper. Unfortunately a lot of knowledgeable typesetters were lost to the industry and a lot of very expensive equipment was very quickly made obsolete.”

    It’s amazing but Quark has now been blitzed by InDesign which blew it away when it came out. I always thought Quark was second rate to real typesetting but InDesign is excellent.

  6. Graham Clifford
    February 17, 2011

    Some blasts from the past there. I ran into Nigel Dawson at the CDP reunion last April. I wonder if Len’s still got that jacket?

  7. Rob Sutton
    February 17, 2011

    Graham, that jacket has probably been in and out of fashion twice, since then. Haven’t seen Nigel for years.

    Nice to hear from you. If I find any more ‘gems’ in my loft I’ll be sure to post them.

  8. Len cheeseman
    February 17, 2011

    Although I’ve deliberately avoided typography for the past couple of years I do think there is a lot of fantastic work being created across the globe.The fonts are better as well and if 1987 was now then i’d be a typographical kid running amoke with all the choices,glyphs and options.In fact, I still could be. I’ll often see something that prompts me to say how much I’d love to use it on a campaign except those days and opportunities are behind me.I do still place craft in whatever discipline I am art directing as paramount and its probably my original training as a typesetter that instilled the value of craft in me.The skill base of the current generation is rather inspiring and this may well be a golden phase we are witnessing.Should anyone wonder what old buggers like me now get up to you should check out that beautiful animation,GoingWest,the look I put in place for BBDO and then stood back and watched young talent do it’s stuff.Wonderful,and a example of contemporay type direction.It’s in the book, and on YouTube.Thanks for reminding me of what I used to be.I’d love the lean young body again, but I’d pass on wearing that jacket again even if was in fashion for the third time.

  9. Rob Sutton
    March 2, 2011

    Len, thanks for the info on the Going West animation, I’ve posted it on this site.

    I was going to put your ad from the above book on this post. It was a redesign of a classic “toni twin” ad. However you turned it from a page ad into a super thin strip ad and we’d have been scrolling for days!

    Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Mikw Whipps
    April 14, 2016

    Someone forgot Dave Wakefield

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