Oct 27 2013

Youth and The Long Road: Discipline, Part 2

Thank you for all the emails about my “Let’s Talk Dirty” post.

The topic of discipline hit a nerve and there was much fretting. All I can say is; don’t worry. In writing about Ian Brignell I am discussing a mature man at the top of his game. You guys are focussing on the mountain’s peak but it’s the hike to the top that tells the true story. Some perspective, then.

In the late 1980’s, Ian Brignell arrived back in Canada after three-and-a-half years living and working in London, England. He returned to Toronto determined to make a living as a lettering and logo design specialist (as opposed to a graphic designer). It was a bold move at the right time. Ian was young, expenses were minimal and he had a city full of connections from his time as a student at Sheridan College. Luckily, the majority of his friends did not like or simply were not good at hand lettering but many jobs, from editorial to packaging, were enhanced by it. They knew from school that Ian’s lettering work excelled. His prices were fair so everyone was happy.

In those days, a lot of Ian’s work was calligraphy because companies were really into award certificates back then. Ian’s office was a drafting table that took up almost half of his bedroom. Cartons of blank certificates crowded but Ian never complained. He called this work “the meat and potatoes” because it paid the rent and bought the groceries. The logo jobs were the “gravy”.

Ian Brignell liked to party and so did most of his friends. Four o’clock beers mid-week after work would become a basket of wings or a hamburger then off to a club to meet up with laggards – you know how it goes. Sometimes it was so late that people had to walk home because the streetcars had stopped running. Ian’s roommates would pile into the house and then clamour upstairs to hit the sack.

Frequently, as other people were settling down to sleep, Ian was settling in at his desk. A cup of tea, the spotlight from an articulated desk lamp, pens and nibs and ink.

Ian liked to party but he never missed a deadline. Fun, ambition, discipline. There’s an equation in there somewhere…

Here’s a photo of Ian from 2008 in NYC.

Ian@Bigelow's, NYC 2008