Six of the UK's best designers are to be recognised for their outstanding contribution to design and society by becoming Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) at an award ceremony held at the RSA on November 17.
Neville Brody, Margaret Calvert, Andy Cameron, Mary Restieaux, Peter Saville, Michael Wolff, will join a select group of designers who currently hold the RDI. Regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK an Honorary RDI award will also be given to Canadian designer, Bruce Mau.
"2011 marks the 75th Anniversary of the RSA's Royal Designer for Industry. As an organisation we are committed to encouraging and rewarding outstanding designers who challenge convention and improve our quality of life," commented Matthew Taylor, RSA Chief Executive. "The work of these seven individuals is varied but they share a common link of having made a significant benefit to society as well as demonstrating design excellence."
Following the announcement of the new Royal Designers, Dinah Casson RDI, exhibition and interior designer and incoming Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry, will give the annual RDI lecture.
Over the last three decades Neville Brody has established himself as one of the most prolific, innovative and influential graphic designers of his generation. The aesthetic of 1980's culture was set by the visually arresting work that Brody initiated, in particular for magazines such as 'The Face,' and 'Arena.' His bold and distinctive style has a challenging approach to typographic layout and colour and he aims for the highest quality of visual communication. From early in his career he designed typefaces to suit the mood of his work. Brody's practice Research Studios has a presence in Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and New York, with clients including Sony, Apple, and Microsoft. It is significant that national media institutions such as The Times, The Guardian, and The BBC should now employ Neville's expertise to redefine their communications and that the Royal College of Art should appoint him as the head of its Design and Communications department. Brody also remains committed to convening events to bring design community together to discuss issues of social awareness, responsibility and accountability in design and marketing.
Margaret Calvert has had a successful career as a graphic designer for over 50 years, working in signage, typography and education. Together with Jock Kinnear, Calvert designed a succession of ambitious projects creating ground-breaking signage systems for Britain's airports, new motorways, and roads in the late 1950s and 1960s. Still in use today, they are regarded as exemplars for modern signage. A rigorous system of carefully coordinated lettering, colours, scale, and shapes were designed to be both efficient and elegant. The scheme for road signage was based on the notion of that each sign should be a map that is orientated towards the driver, a simple yet revolutionary concept at the time. Calvert believed it important that the signs should be friendly and welcoming to motorists, whilst retaining clarity and impact. To achieve this a new typeface was developed - a refinement of the sans serif font Aksidenz Grotesk, but with softer curves. The font was subsequently named Transport and was used with both upper- and lower- case letters, departing from previous road sign text which was all capitalised. More influential signage projects were designed for the NHS, British Airports Authority and British Rail. Through her 35 years in education Calvert has directly affected the careers of many generations of graphic designers. A former Head of Graphic Design and Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art, Calvert's teaching focused on typography. The slab serif typeface 'Calvert' was used for the Paris Metro signage and in 1992 was has recently been adopted as the official typeface for the Royal College of Art's new identity.
Interaction designer Andy Cameron is a visionary of the digital world who sees no limit to how powerful and creative interactive media can be. Co-founder of both Antirom and Romandson digitals studios in the 1990s, Cameron was also instrumental in establishing the Hypermedia Research Centre at Westminster University. His MA course on interactive media and the new cultural and social forms emerging from the convergence of the media, telecommunications and computing was the first of its kind at a UK university, illustrating Cameron's interest in taking digital media 'into the street' and seeing where it can play a part in daily life. His installations in shops (Levi's, Benetton), art galleries (Barbican, ICA) and museums (Science Museum, V&A), places technology directly into the hands of the public, allowing the user to control what they create and how they communicate with each other using powerful, digital interactive video and audio tools. As Creative Director of Interaction and then as Executive Director at Fabrica, Cameron demonstrated new ways to communicate. Returning to the UK in 2010 Cameron continues to teach and write about the politics of interactive and networked media, including Film it, an innovative Internet video project for primary schools in the UK for the Helen Hamlyn Trust.
Bruce Mau (Honorary RDI)
Originally trained as a graphic designer in his native Canada, Bruce worked at London's Pentagram in the early 1980s, an experience which informed his application of inter-disciplinary practice, leading him to co-found Public Good Design & Communications on his return to Toronto in 1985, and the subsequent establishment of Bruce Mau Design. Throughout the ensuing decades Bruce balanced a prolific commitment to print design work - which included the creative directorship of I.D magazine, the publication of S,M,L,XL with Rem Roolhaus in 1995, and the design directorship of Zone books - with broader design commissions, and wider conceptual and educational projects. Amongst the latter are included his influential Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, 1998, and the development of the Institute Without Boundaries post-graduate design programme at George Brown College, Toronto, from 2003, both of which sought to underline the responsibilities of designers as problem-solvers with the potential to effect positive change, a message recently enhanced by Bruce's establishment of the Massive Change Network. A passionate and engaging speaker and design agitator, the recipient of the prestigious AIGA Gold Medal in 2007, the Global Creative Leadership Award in 2009, and the holder of innumerable academic fellowships, Bruce's rational and objective vision is one that acknowledges the global responsibilities of effective design. www.massivechangenetwork.com
An influential textile designer whose work transcends the distance between craft and industrial design, Mary Restiaux's contribution to the fashion and textiles industries has been significant. Receiving her MA from the RCA in 1974, Mary was engaged as the College's Research Fellow, charged with exploring the possibilities for the industrial application of the traditional lkat dye-resist weaving technique. A consummate craftsperson with a passion for her medium, and a member of the First Eleven Studio since 1991, Mary's designs have been accepted by a prolific and extensive range of clients, including Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Missoni, Kenzo, Sanderson, Mulberry, Colefax & Fowler, Habitat and John Lewis, amongst many others, leading to her award of the Silver Medal, 2009, from the Worshipful Company of Weavers, for outstanding contribution to the textiles industry. As well as part time teaching over many years Mary organises the Marianne Straub, Kay Cosserat RDI and John Dunsmore bursaries at the Royal College of Art. In addition to this she holds study days for both textile students and A-Level pupils from local schools for which she personally organises the funding. Mary keeps in touch with many of these students and gives them ongoing help and advice as their careers develop.
For over thirty years Peter Saville has had a unique and distinctive influence on our visual culture, embracing graphic design, commercial branding and communications, and in the process has helped to redefine public expectations of design. As founding partner and design director of Manchester's now legendary Factory Records, Peter developed the image and identity of the independent label, whose signings included Joy Division, New Order and OMD. Establishing Peter Saville Associates in 1983, his clients included Roxy Music, Yohji Yamamoto, Joseph, Jill Sander, and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, the Centre Georges Pompidou, and the French Ministry of Culture. The 1990s saw Peter as a partner with Pentagram, in addition to posts with other international agencies, leading to projects that defined the brand identity for companies as diverse as Christian Dior, Mandarina Duck, Smart Car, and ABC TV, and more recently, EMI, Selfridges, and Alexander McQueen, amongst others. Saville's significant contribution to design was celebrated in 'The Peter Saville Show,' a major retrospective at the Design Museum in 2003. Appointed Consultant Creative Director to Manchester City Council in 2004, Peter has been instrumental in redefining the cultural renaissance of his home city, and in 201 0 was commissioned to re-design England's football kit. Additionally, Peter supports upcoming generations of designers through associations with leading national colleges.
Originally trained in Architecture, Michael Wolff practiced as a product, graphic and interior designer before forming, with Wally Olins, the design partnership Wolff Olins in 1964 - destined to become one of the most influential international branding companies, whose clients were to include Audi, P&O, Renault, Volkswagen, and the Beatle's Apple company. From 1983 Michael lead the Addison Design Company, where a diverse portfolio of clients included Shell, London Underground and Jaguar, before establishing Michael Wolff & Company - with clients as diverse as Mothercare, The Ministry of Sound, and Oxford University. In recent years Michael has served as patron of the Design Business Association Inclusive Design Challenge, trustee of The Hunger Project, advisor to UK charity Youth At Risk, and as a member of the UK's Government Alliance Against Crime, demonstrating an immense commitment to compassionate and innovative design. Michael continues to support education through a visiting professorship at the University of the Arts, and is a senior fellow of the Royal College of Art.