Ian Noble, 1960-2013

A lecturer who inspired his students “to change the world of design” has died.

April 4, 2013

Ian Noble was born on 15 October 1960 and grew up near Fareham in Hampshire before going to what was then Portsmouth College of Art and Design for a foundation course (1978-79) followed by a degree in graphic design (1981-83).

He worked as a designer and art editor for magazines such as Dogs Monthly and the London Restaurant Guide, overseeing the launch of Jump and the relaunch of Capital and Practical Householder. He also served as assistant art director of Prima.

In 1989, however, Mr Noble returned to Portsmouth as lecturer, and eventually principal lecturer, in graphic design. He remained there until 1997, during the turbulent period when the college was incorporated into the new University of Portsmouth, and then moved to the London College of Printing as the undergraduate programme director for graphic and media design.

He was promoted to acting dean in 2001 and later took responsibility for the MA in graphic branding and identity at what had become the London College of Communication (and part of the University of the Arts London).

A final move came in 2010, when Mr Noble accepted the position of course director of the MA in communication design at Kingston University, and then acting academic director in 2012.

A highly accomplished designer of books, posters and exhibitions, Mr Noble was also an excellent writer. The sole author of Picture Perfect: Fusions of Illustration and Design (2003), he also joined forces with fellow punk enthusiast Russell Bestley, course director in graphic design at the London College of Communication, in producing a textbook titled Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design (2005). Translated into six languages, this soon established itself as an essential resource and was reissued in a new edition in 2011.

“Ian was passionate about design, and about people - with a true humanitarian spirit and a strong desire to make the world a better place,” said Dr Bestley. “When he attended meetings within the design and education communities, he stood out, not just physically, but with his warmth, charisma and significant charm, as well as his hugely tenacious intellect and wit.

“Students he taught were inspired to do more, to take risks and to change the world of design - and many have gone on to do so within their professional careers.”

Mr Noble died on 30 January and is survived by his wife Susan and children Audra and Eugene.


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