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This interview is taken from PN Review 258, Volume 47 Number 4, March - April 2021.

Intelligent Design
Andrew Latimer in conversation with
DESIGNER - PHIL CLEAVER
Andrew Latimer
Phil Cleaver is an award-winning designer, author and artist whose personality emerged from the city of London under the influence of Punk, the Far East and the design industry’s most influential leaders.


AL—You’ve worked with some of the greats of modern typography, including Anthony Froshaug, Wim Crouwel and Alan Fletcher at Pentagram. How did you get into typographic design?

PS—I was unusual because I was a real London Barra boy at the Central School of Art and Craft, which was mostly full of middle-class students. I didn’t really understand half of what was going on; I had come to learn a trade and they were being all arty­-farty. We got set a typographic brief, which was proof correction marks, and then suddenly I was like a duck to water. In those days you had to hand draw all the typography, and I rendered the whole thing in 6pt Gill Sans monotype. I took the first page up to this guy, Anthony Froshaug, and of course I had no idea who the hell he was. He said, ‘That’s not readable, son’. But I thought bugger you. I went into the compostion room – I didn’t do any lessons for months – and I typeset and printed the whole thing and I put it back under his nose and said, ‘Now tell me that ain’t bloody readable’. He looked at me and said, now I’ll teach you. I became a protégé of Anthony Froshaug. He had three – Alan Kitching, a guy called Bruce Nicholson, who sadly died this year, and me. I was the third and ...


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