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A tribute to designer Rodney Miller, who has passed away

Rodney Miller, founder of one of Ireland's most respected design groups Rodney Miller Associates, has died aged 61.

Rodney had been diagnosed with cancer in April and passed away last Tuesday. Here his long-time friend and former colleague Billy Mawhinney pays tribute to a man who helped "change my life".

I first met Rodney in the early 70s when I joined the newly created Design Group at the recently established Northern Ireland Housing Executive. I was the Group's Paste Up Artist and Rodney the senior Designer. We all worked under the very benevolent leadership of Alan Livingston. Now Professor Alan Livingston CBE.

In design terms, Rodney rose to the challenge of communicating difficult messages to a suspicious audience during The Troubles. He relished the wide range of design problems he was asked to resolve while I was getting the education of a lifetime.

We all loved working with Rodney, he had a great sense of fun and style and he became a wonderful and hugely respected colleague and friend.

As I left for London Rodney left the Housing Executive and created his own consultancy, Rodney Miller Associates, which quickly became the leading visual communications practice in Northern Ireland.

Rodney rightly took pride in the fact that many of his ex-staff subsequently set up their own businesses and thus contributed to a thriving creative industries sector. This is a fitting legacy of his generous nature and his concern to promote the benefits of good design. And as recently as this March I enjoyed working with Rodney on a pitch in Newcastle.

He leaves his wife Pat, kids Jonny, Tori and Emma a fantastic legacy as husband and Dad and the Northern Ireland Design Community a tremendously high standard of work to live up to.

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