Remembering Jon Daniel: 1966-2017

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Tom Banks reports that independent creative director, designer, social activist, and Design Week columnist Jon Daniel died recently, at age 51, following a short illness:

Through his Four Corners column, Jon set out to spotlight the work of designers from the African diaspora, bringing Design Week readers stories of emerging, established and pioneering designers. And this is exactly what he did, for more than four years. It was Jonny’s gregarious nature, persistence and persuasiveness, which got him so many great interviews. He really believed in what he was doing and that certainly rubbed off on people.

[. . .] Jon was born on 31 May 1966 in East Sheen, South West London. His late father Horace was from Barbados and his mother Sheila is from Grenada. Horace came to the UK as part of London Transport’s recruitment drive and Sheila came to train as a nurse. They met and married in London.

It was quite early in Jon’s life that he realised what he wanted to do, according to his wife, Jane Daniel: “He always wanted to do something with art and when he was still quite young, one of his teachers told him about ‘commercial artists’ and he decided that’s what he wanted to be.”

[. . .] He was executive creative director of Ebb&flow until 2012, ending an agency career that saw him work with clients including IBM, NHS Careers, The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and Virgin Direct.

Then he struck out as an independent, which gave rise to a hugely prolific period including many social projects. One of these was Afro Supa Hero, an exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood built around Jon’s personal comic collection. He branded the exhibition, created the merchandise and a book soon followed. Meanwhile workshops with school kids and lectures took place.

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Another notable show was a celebration of postcolonial stamps, which was held at the headquarters of stamp aficionado Stanley Gibbons.

Jane Daniel remembers that “one of his proudest moments was designing the box-set for Parliament’s Chocolate City: London – P-Funk Live album, where he got to meet his hero, George Clinton.” [. . .]

For full article, see https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/16-22-october-2017/remembering-jon-daniel-1966-2017/

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