Mr David Smart

Mr David Smart

Associate Head of School (Design)

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


Associate Head of School – Art and Media (Marketing and Recruitment)

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Graphic Communication

Subject Leader – Communication Arts:

BA (Hons) Graphic Communication with Typography

BA (Hons) Illustration

MA Publishing

David teaches across all 3 years on the BA(Hons) Graphic Communication with Typography programme 

Advisory tutor to selected students from all three years on the programme.


David Smart studied a Foundation Course in Art and Design at Bath Academy of Art in 1974/5. 

He graduated from the Faculty of Art and Design, Brighton Polytechnic with a BA(Hons) Graphic Design in 1978.

He passed the Royal Horticultural Society General Certificate in Practical Horticulture with Distinction in 1994.
Studied the Royal Horticultural Society Diploma in Horticulture at Ealing College, London from 1995 to 1998.          

He has been trained in staff appraisal at the Decca Record Company and Plymouth University.

David began his career in publishing, designing book covers for Pan and Picador paperbacks
Moving to deputy art director with Hamlyn Books.
A period as a freelance designer followed working for clients Penguin Books, Century Publishing, Futura Books
and HPICM(Saatchi & Saatchi).

In 1983 he joined London based XL Design (graphics, interiors and film) as design director,
working on corporate and editorial design, but predominantly with clients in the music industry and the arts.
He built relationships with a number of major international record companies, particularly ZTT, where he
worked on much of the renowned ‘Action Series’ designing for Frankie Goes To Hollywood (Relax, Two Tribes,
The Power of Love, Welcome to the Pleasuredome, Rage Hard, Liverpool) Propaganda, Art of Noise, Grace Jones
(Slave to the Rhythm) and Andrew Poppy.

Other clients of the practice include Parlophone Records (Belouis Some, Pet Shop Boys) Virgin Records
(Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) CBS Records (Fiction Factory, Nick Haywood, Bush Telegraph)
MCA Records (Kim Wilde).

Editorial, corporate identity and general design clients included:
ZTT Records, Siren Records, Sarm Studios, Notion Pictures, Baud Software and Century Hutchinson.

In 1986 David co-founded Accident, a new graphic design partnership, working with a wide variety of clients
from the music industry and the arts. He continued his long-standing relationship with ZTT Records
(Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Andrew Poppy, Das Psycho Rangers) and in addition designed for CBS Records
(Luther Vandross) EMI Records (Diana Ross, Jackie Graham, Hazell Dean) Polydor Records (Judie Tzuke,
Freddie McGregor) MCA Records (Holly Johnson) WEA Records (State 808), The Decca Record Company
(including Historic series, Mozart Almanac, Hogwood Festival, and a re-design for the L'Oiseau-Lyre early music label).

Editorial and general design clients include Estee Lauder UK (Rome Airport Skyclub, Mount Kenya and Villa
D'Este conferences), Small World Holidays, Midland Bank Pensions, Sarm Recording Studios, Penguin Books
(Raymond Chandler, Margery Allingham and David Pearce series) Random Century (Greville Janner Business Guides).

Corporate identity clients include Hauer Film Productions, The Independent Film Directors Company, Metropolis
Recording Studios, David Keltie Associates (patent agents) and International Aids Day.

Before moving to the South West in 1998, David worked for seven years as Head of Design at the Decca Record
Company in London, developing the Decca brand globally and managing a large department of art directors and
picture researchers. Responsible for the design of the company's classical and cross-over labels/output and its
brand identity worldwide, he travelled extensively to Europe and the USA, art directing events and photo sessions
with artists such as Lucianno Pavarotti, Angela Gheorgiou, and Michael Nyman. He also worked closely with
designers in Decca’s foreign markets to champion a global brand identity.

Work with other artists at Decca includes:

Singers – Cecilia Bartoli, Renee Fleming, Joan Sutherland, Bryn Terfel, Roberto Alagna, Kiri Te Kanawa, Arleen Auger,
Matteus Goerne, Barbara Bonney, Ute Lemper.

Conductors – Sir Georg Solti, Charles Dutoit, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Herbert Blomstedt, Christopher Hogwood,
Christophe Rousset, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Phillip Pickett, Roger Norrington.

Contemporary composers – Mark Anthony Turnage, Michael Kamen, JohnBarry, Harrison Birtwistle, Michael Torke,
Aaron Kernis, Graham Fitkin, Berthold Goldschmidt, Piano Circus.

Musicians – Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Pascal Roge, Joshua Bell, Takacs Quartet, Issaye Quartet, Chantal Juillet, Radu Lupu,
Andras Schiff, Peter Jablonski, Olli Mustonen, Balanescu Quartet, John Harle.

Decca series designs include:

Historic, Double Decca, Grandi Voci, Essential Composers, Grand Opera, Entartete Musik, Eclipse, Serenata,
Opera Gala, Enterprise, Ovation, Classic Sound, Phase 4.

Since moving to the West Country, David has maintained a graphic design and garden consultancy.
Past and recent clients include:

The Artful Plasterer (Somerset) – graphic identity and branding.
Cake - Press and Publicity, (Exeter) – graphic identity and branding.
Dance in Devon (Exeter) – graphic identity, branding and programme of events.
Envoy Property Management (Plymouth) – signage.
Garden Explorers (Exeter) – graphic identity and branding.
Here and There Group, (London) – website proposals.
Laurence King Publishing (London) – book design, ‘Getting it Right with Type’.
Mark Richmond Architects, Taunton – graphic identity and branding.
Organic Theatre Group, Edinburgh – Odin Teatret (Denmark) and International Residency programme of events. Sheepskin identity.
Phoenix Arts and Media, Exeter – events design.
South West Arts Marketing – The Great Somerset Arts Adventure identity.
Stevensbooks, Plymouth – graphic identity and branding.
West Hill Nursery, Ottery St Mary – graphic identity and branding.

 For Plymouth University, David designed a graphic identity for the Faculty of Arts Degree Shows,
bringing together the needs of three Schools – Art & Media, Architecture & Design and Humanities.

He was recently asked by the Vice Chancellor to be part of the strategy committee to develop a new brand
identity for the University. His Associate Head of School role involves the coordination of a marketing and
recruitment strategy for Art and Media subjects and programmes.

As a garden designer, over the last fifteen years, David has designed seven gardens in London,
eight in the West Country and two in France. He is currently developing his own three acre garden on
the edge of Dartmoor in Devon.


Professional membership

David is the recipient of:
Design and Art Direction (D&AD) Awards x 2
Music Week Award
London International Advertising Award (for music associated design work)

As a member of D&AD he has sat on the judging panel of the D&AD awards (record sleeves and promotion)
and also on the judging panel of the Music Week awards (record sleeves).

He has been a member of the Association of Music Industry Designers and is a member of Design in Devon

In 2011 he won a Plymouth University Enterprise award for his work on the University brand identity

Teaching interests

From 1987 to 1991, alongside his consultancy work, David lectured part-time in graphic design
at Chelsea School of Art

He has also been a guest lecturer at Camberwell School of Art, London
(BA Hons Graphic Design), Brighton University (BA Hons Graphic Design/Illustration)
and Central St Martins School of Art, London (BA Hons Illustration)

Before joining the University of Plymouth in 2004 he was programme leader of the
BA(Hons) Design (Packaging) programme at Somerset College of Arts and Technology.

He became Programme Leader of the BA(Hons) Design: Graphic Communication with Typography course
at the University of Plymouth in 2007, revalidating and re-writing the programme in 2009
with the introduction of 3 new award routes:
    Graphic Communication with Typography (Identity and Branding)
    Graphic Communication with Typography (Editorial and Publishing)
    Graphic Communication with Typography (Information Design)

Student achievements under David’s leadership have included:
    5 Royal Society of Arts student awards: Unilever x 2, Shishedo, John Lewis, Royal Mail.
    2 Institute of Packaging Starpack awards.
    10 International Society of Typographic Designers award.
    58 entries in the Student Yearbook.
    10 entries in the Graphis International Student yearbook.
    4 entries in the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) annual.
    1 D&AD New Blood Award

David became Subject Leader for Communication Arts within the School of Art and Media
at the University of Plymouth in 2009 overseeing:   
    BA(Hons) Graphic Communication with Typography
    BA(Hons) Illustration
    Design Research (for GCommTypo and Illustration)
    MA Publishing
His ongoing teaching and research interests include the teaching of typography,
branding and identity, brands in the wider communication context and how design
students develop psychological defense mechanisms that enable them to work in the
wider commercial environment.

Staff serving as external examiners

External examiner at University of the Creative Arts, Epsom

MA Graphic Design and Communication suite of awards:

MA Graphic Design and Communication (Professional)

MA Graphic Design and Communication (Research)

MA Design Management (Creative Enterprise)

MA Design Management (Design and Strategy)

MA Design Management (Innovation and Brand Management)

Research interests

David founded the MESSAGE research group at the University of Plymouth in December 2007 and coordinated the group's activities until January 2011.

He remains an active member of the group.

His research includes:


Exploring the effectiveness of studio based learning and activity with graphic design students.

Conference paper:

Working with Glen Crust (UOP learning skills advisor) and students from year 2 and 3 of BA(Hons) Graphic Communication with Typography programme to evidence the effectiveness of studio based learning and group activity for students at university and its relation to professional design practice.


Allotment Lives

Book proposal:

Collaborative writing and design of a book proposal with Dr Cameron Watt (University of Warwick) focussing on the renewed interest and culture surrounding life on the allotment.


How patients visualise their illness

Graphic visualisation project:

Work with Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Haematology Department Users Group on how patients visualise cancer, leukemia, lymphoma and myloma and how such visualisation might be beneficial to understanding disease.


Getting it Right with Type (Victoria Squire)

Book design and Illustration:

Design and illustration of a basic guide to type layout for students and beginners, written by Victoria Squire and published by Lawrence King, London. 


The Fragmented Orchestra

Initial planning and proposals for graphic identity:

Working with Jane Grant and John Matthius on the initial bid for uk wide music project – winner of the 2008 New Music Award


The Art of ZTT

Art Vinyl Gallery, London

To celebrate 25 years of ZTT records, one of the UK's most influential record labels, this exhibition showcases a selection of album covers from the ZTT archive. It involves many of the designs undertaken for this label by my former companies XL Design and Accident including designs for The Art of Noise and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.


Message 20 – Full Stops and Roses

Message research group seminar presentation of personal body of work:

An analysis of visual full stops and pauses and there relation to messages within the environment (as part of personal interestin gardens and landscape and cross disciplinary practice).


Sadirvan – Islamic ablution fountains 

Part of Message exhibition, Sherwell Centre,University of Plymouth:

A photographic study of ablution fountains and their significance in Islam.


Transferring brands effectively across different media

Conference paper and seminar group workshop Origin Publishing / BBC Magazines:

Written for, and presented to, Origin Publishing/ BBC Magazines (Bristol) on the challenges faced by magazine publishers today,in terms of how they produce and deliver editorial content. A lecture to editorial staff, followed by seminar workshops on how brands might transfer andbe imagined in different media contexts.


Message 34 – Of Trees

Message research group seminar presentation ofpersonal body of work:

Presentation of and ongoing investigation of howgardens might be visualised in the absence of physical space and using typographyalone and exploring how trees are a reflection of the human condition.


Message 41 – Of Trees

Part of Message exhibition, Roland LevinskyBuilding, University of Plymouth:

Exhibition of ongoing work by the MessageResearch Group


Interview for Tuumbed

Interview with Jeremy Orbell of Tuumbed blog and website about work completed for ZTT Records including work for The Art of Noise, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Andrew Poppy and Anne Pigalle.


Working with Practice

Paper for VC’s teaching and Learning Conference,University of Plymouth

For the graphic communication/design student, the preparation and presentation of a portfolioof work relating to personal aims as well as industry needs, is essential. In2010, the BA(Hons) Graphic Communication with Typography programme held a pilot industry liaison panel – a day of portfolio surgeries to help nurture student presentation skills and focus portfolio.

Timetabled as part of teaching and learning in GCOM333 ‘Facing Out’, teams of industry designers (local, regional and national) were invited to meet with students face to face on campus, and to feed back to the programme team on the relevance of curriculum and the suitability of students for employment.

Creative practice & artistic projects

Research groups

  • Message

CD design work is held in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
His work has been written about in Eye magazine and Graphics International – both leading subject journals.

His ‘Action Series’ design work appeared in a ZTT records retrospective at the
Art Vinyl Gallery in October 2008 and he helped form part of initial identity and bid proposals for The Fragmented Orchestra (Winner of the New Music Award) in 2009.

Reports & invited lectures

David has been a guest lecturer at Central St Martins School of Art and Camberwell School of Art,
both part of the London Institute.

He has been invited to give a keynote lecture and workshop to Origin Publishing/BBC Magazines
in September 2010.

Other academic activities

Additional information

David has recently been working with the University of Plymouth on establishing a new visual brand identity and set of core values for the University.

He is a member of Faculty of Arts Marketing and Admissions Committee, and the University Rare Books Committee