Educator's Hall of Fame

Rob Lawton

Dec 15, 1934 - Dec 11, 2018

Inducted: 2012

Rob Lawton is perhaps one of the greatest teachers in advertising. His critiques in the classroom are legendary for their brutal honesty, dead-on accuracy and incredible inspiration. In fact, Gary Goldsmith told Archive magazine that meeting with Rob launched his career. He is the common thread between many of today's creative superstars--among his students in the 1980s were illustrator Michael Schwab, photographer Mark Seliger, 2011 One Show Pencil-winner David Kampa and The Martin Agency’s Chief Creative Officer John Norman. Not surprisingly, whenever his former pupils are interviewed, they never fail to thank Rob for helping them achieve their many successes. In 1995, Rob co-founded The Creative Circus, where many of his graduates have gone on to be the executive creative directors, agency owners and One Show Pencil winners.

Rob Lawton's Hall of Fame Induction

By Dave Holloway

"Rob Lawton could’ve been one of the finest opera singers, painters or sculptors we’ve ever seen. Thankfully, Rob instead became the greatest teacher our industry has ever known."

"Everything you’ve heard about Rob is true. His critiques are legendary for their brutal honesty, dead-on accuracy and incredible inspiration."

"Rob is difficult. (He’d call it 'uncompromising.') Rob would tell his students that if they weren’t flunking all their other classes, they weren’t doing well enough in his."

"As a result, half of Rob’s students loved him, hung on his every word and went on to do great things. The other half hated him, and just to spite him, went on to great things, too. In short, Rob earned his students’ respect. Taught a few generations of creatives to have “standards” not just in design, but also in life. And doled out tough love, bear hugs and fist bumps."

"So, in trying to please Rob, his students drove themselves to achieve things they never dreamed possible. The same can be said of Rob Lawton himself."

"Early in his career, Rob partnered in a design shop in Dallas with another youngster, Stan Richards."

"After that, Rob moved on to a small agency called Crume & Associates. It was there that he established himself as the best creative director in the Southwest. Rob created beautiful, tasteful, award-winning work and mentored advertising greats like Jim Ferguson and Wally Williams."

"But what Rob Lawton loved more than anything was teaching. And he eagerly made the drive to East Texas University in Commerce. Among his students in the 1980s were illustrator Michael Schwab, photographer Mark Seliger, 2011 One Show pencil winner David Kampa and The Martin Agency’s chief creative officer, John Norman. Not surprisingly, whenever his former pupils are interviewed, they never fail to thank Rob for helping them achieve their many successes."

"In the late 1980s, there was an award-filled stint in California. And then a move to North Carolina, where Rob transformed an old mill into a pottery studio. But before long, it was back to teaching."

"In 1993, Rob became design director at Portfolio Center (PC) in Atlanta. While teaching a new generation of creatives, Rob gained even more acclaim as an idea man who was equally brilliant at typography, calligraphy, painting and art direction."

"In 1995, Rob broke away from PC to co-found The Creative Circus. Not only did Rob build the design department by hand, he also helped renovate the building his students would occupy – day and night."

"Many of these Creative Circus graduates have gone on to become the executive creative directors, agency owners and the One Show pencil winners of today."

"Though they’re spread out all across the globe, their love of Rob Lawton unites them. In fact, Rob is the first Creative Hall of Fame inductee to have his own Facebook Fan page."

"It’s fitting that tonight Rob finds himself being honored with the legendary Steve Jobs. For Rob made sure his students’ thinking was sound before he ever let them near a Mac. It also seems appropriate that David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO, is presiding over tonight’s ceremony as the agency has always been one of the biggest employers of Rob’s former students."

"Rob Lawton has always pushed his students to greatness, while deflecting any praise that came his way. Now, it’s only fitting for all of us gathered here tonight to push Rob into the spotlight and honor him as a member of The Creative Hall of Fame."

 

 

 

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