If pressed, I would say Derek Birdsall is my favourite designer of all time. A couple of years ago Mike Dempsey opened a blog post on Birdsall with a sweeping statement, "If you don't know of [Birdsall] then you are not a graphic designer]". I think right now, in 2011, that might be a little harsh but then again, as a designer of a certain age myself, I also feel that it's not a totally unfair assertion.
At its best, Birdsall's work (and that of his studio Ominfic) is utterly meaningful and incredibly simple. Often so simple, you feel that each piece must have taken mere mintues to produce. And yet they're so powerful, it's impossible to imagine how you could better express the idea.
It was a Birdsall/Omnific cover design that got me into collecting Penguin books. When I stumbled across Juniors I was blown away; it was perfect and about as minimal as you can get. The studio produced many covers for the publishers Education imprint; the ones I have are on Flickr. I've just added this one.
(@H_FJ quite rightly pointed out on Twitter that that character is, of course, Psi, not as the title of this post might suggest Chi. I did know that. I DID. Really! The Chi reference comes from an overly obscure extract on the back cover that I haven't shown you. In other words: I have made no attempt to make this make sense.)