Ian Noble Tribute
  • David Phillips

  • So soon after Ian's death it is hard to fully quantify or understand the measure of how important he was to me. We had taught together for over a decade and I had know him for fourteen years. We had such great times. We had beautiful days with fine weather and fine dining, and horrid days of miserable rain and sad sandwiches. But every single day was special; Ian brought something good, something strange and something unique to every occasion and then he shared it all around. 

    Teaching with Ian was for me always a pleasure, we were always laughing. Even though some of it was hard and some of it was tiring, with Ian there was always an undercurrent of joy. I loved Ian's generous enthusiasm for life, the joy he clearly felt at discovering new things and ideas.

    He was a brave man and there was nothing judicious or prudent about his way of doing things. He just proceeded with abandon with the idea that whatever came after could be sorted out. He always expected the best of people and because of this he was often disappointed, as they failed to come up to his own high standards of loyalty and honesty. His allegiance to his friends was unquestioning, and you knew that if needed he would stand beside you.

    He was a born educator, someone who knew a lot and was not cautious with propagating it to others. Also he had something that is surprisingly rare in design education, he had vision. He recognised what it was that was wrong and he tried hard to put it right. He liked sorting things out and getting things going.

    I can see him now making notes with a fine writing instrument into a 'Alwych' notebook, (much better than a Moleskine according to Ian), smiling to himself like a detective gathering evidence.

    There are many photographs, (mostly taken by students on field trips), that show Ian and me taken from behind. We're a discordant comic duo of mismatched forms. Ian was a benevolent man who gave with every fibre of his being. Although smaller than Ian in every way, he always made me feel like his equal, this was his talent. I loved him. 

    David Phillips 
    Senior Lecturer MA communication design at Kingston University
    Senior Lecturer BA (hons) graphic and media design at LCC