Dan about town

I attended the Editorial Design Organisation talk at the London College of Fashion last night, and jolly good it was too.

First up was Ann Braybon, discussing the short-lived but hugely influential 60s men’s magazine Town* (formerly About Town, formerly Man About Town**). I wasn’t familiar with it before, so it was great finding out about its importance in nurturing the great British photographers (such as David Bailey and Terence Donovan) and early adoption of Helvetica.

After that was Creative Director Robin Derrick, rambling (and I mean that in a good way) about his career, from i-D to Vogue, via The Face. He came across as a lovely bloke, more grounded than I expected. Amongst the many many Kate Moss anecdotes, there was plenty of insight into the magazine world. I particularly liked this nugget of wisdom:

“People make the mistake of thinking we work in fashion. We don’t – we work in publishing.”

That kind of burst the Devil Wears Prada-shaped bubble in my head, which is probably a good thing. By the end of his talk I had learnt how to have a successful career in magazine art direction in three easy steps:

  1. Go to college with lots of talented people.
  2. Get mistaken for Neville Brody.
  3. Get fired a lot.


The EDO haven’t been around for long, but with passionate people behind the scenes (including everyone’s favourite magophile Jeremy Leslie) I expect great things. Hopefully there’ll be more events with speakers of this calibre soon. I’d love to hear Brody’s take on the rise and fall of The Face for example, or Charlie Brooker reminiscing about his days at Oink. In the meantime, I’m off to scour eBay for old copies of Town…