I was recently honoured to interview the graphic design legend who is Mike Dempsey. I like the biography on his website, so much, I’m going to let him introduce himself: “Mike Dempsey has been has been around the block a bit. A graphic designer for over 40 years. He worked in publishing for 10 of those. Founded the design consultancy CDT in 1979 and has created everything from stamps to film title sequences and editorial design to visual identities. He is a writer, photographer, broadcaster, painter, blogger and studied acting at the Method Studio London. In between all that he’s had 6 children, 8 houses, 2 divorces, 5 cats and 2 dogs. He has won 10 D&AD Silvers and a Gold. Elected a member of Alliance Graphic International, was President of D&AD and past Master of The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry. In 2012 he was awarded a D&AD special Black Pencil for most awarded designer in D&AD’s 50th anniversary. He left CDT at the end of 2007 to form Studio Dempsey – an intimate space to dream and create.”
It was in that “intimate space to dream and create” that we met for the interview, and while I was there, I couldn’t resist taking some pictures for this series. (Plus the interview was a filmed one and my editing skills are slow at best!). Here it is…
Mike’s studio is in what used to be the living room of his Clerkenwell flat. The longest wall is glazed from desk height up, flooding the space with natural light and providing Mike with a fabulously leafy view.
I like a man who likes his books and another wall is filled, almost floor to ceiling with books and artefacts that hint towards Mike’s illustrious career – the same D&AD annuals I’ve got from my advertising days, except I suspect Mike’s were bought more for posterity than for inspiration(!) and that rather special black D&AD pencil.
And naturally, it’s a Vitsoe shelving system!
Every agency I’ve ever worked in has a cutting desk, and I was glad to see that Mike’s is no exception – I love this little cutting desk for one, which some fabulous Mike Dempsey original artwork propped up on it.
I’m always keen to see creative people’s sketch books and Mike told me that he carries one everywhere he goes. He uses all different shapes and sizes, but does love the little A8 ones because they fit in his pocket. He confessed that everything goes into these from ground-breaking ideas to shopping lists!
I also spotted this little bowl of pebbles on a shelf, which I rather liked. Things do look nice grouped together like this, don’t they? In fact, this bowl was the inspiration for putting the blue and white china I found on my mudlarking trip in a bowl in my guest room!
Further reading for the especially geeky:
- creative spaces :: mia fleur
- creative spaces :: club workspace by tilt
- creative spaces :: falcon
- creative spaces :: bulldog drummond
Further eye candy for the especially visual: