Ian Noble Tribute
  • Tony Pritchard
  • With the arrival of Ian at the LCP there was a definite feeling of change in the air. The place was in need of a radical shake up. Although Ian was part of the new guard there were some reassuring old school practices in evidence. Ian's modus operandi seemed to include donuts from Greggs, coffee and tobacco. His gang included the administrators as much as the teaching staff. Claude (Claudine Rousseau) was something of an alternative sidekick for Ian. Claude didn't do minutes but could be persuaded to take notes. Wes (Wesley Schol), along with Claude, was another of Ian's valued allies in the early days. Claude, Wes and Ian crowded into Ian's tiny office for what seemed like clandestine smoking sessions and a bit of a gossip.

    I was a visiting tutor at the time preparing students for their placement year. Ian asked if he could observe one of my sessions. When he enthused that I was a 4 out of 4 I hadn't a clue what it meant but coming from Ian it sounded good. I was part of the team that endured the long, pizza driven nights getting the LCP through its first QAA Subject Review. Ian had press-ganged me into doing a diagram in Quark Xpress that apparently saved a point on assessment. The QAA passed and people moved on. Ian stayed. There was a bit of a buzz in the place, like things could change and we could establish something special, something worthy of the tradition in which we followed. It was intoxicating and Ian gave me the self-belief that I could be a part of this. I plucked up the courage and confided in him that I would like a more permanent fixture at LCP. He immediately accepted my statement of intent and hours later was rushing down the corridor after me with the crazy idea of me being a nightwatchman on the Foundation course. It didn't come to pass but it showed that Ian was looking out for me. Ian promoted me through a number of temporary positions. When, as part of the International Society of Typographic Designers' lecture series, I managed to bring in Bruce Mau, Ian lent over and whispered, 'you've just earned your full-time job'. I must have been overcome with madness when I stepped into Ian's shoes as the temporary Course Leader for the BA. Ian would say things like, 'do something once and you're the expert'. And you thought, yeah of course I can do that! It seemed to be a period where things would happen. When 8vo closed their doors for business, Hamish Muir contacted me to enquire after some teaching. I don't think there was any budget but Ian just said do it, we'll find a way. And we did. We did our bit back then and maybe we have now become the old guard. We achieved something good and we can draw a line underneath that.

    Thinking of Ian smoking back in the early days I sent him an email mid-January entitled 'graphic design and smoking'. It was the Munich 1972 Olympics Design Office where everyone was chain-smoking in the work place. The bastard never replied.

    Tony Pritchard, Course Director Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma Design for Visual Communication, LCC