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5 ENO FLAG 134 LR extend
CDT logo


Formed in 1979 by ex-publishing designers Ken Carroll and Mike Dempsey under the name of Carroll & Dempsey. In 1986, Nicholas Thirkell, also ex-publishing, joined as a partner, and the agency became Carroll Dempsey & Thirkell, but the shorthand 'CDT' was quickly adopted. They clocked up many awards during their heyday, including 3 D&AD Golds and 17 Silvers.

By 2007 the only original partner left was 'D', who left for pasture new. Just four years later, the company sadly folded.

Active January 1979 — January 2011
Partners Ken Carroll 1979 – 1990
Mike Dempsey 1979 – 2007
Nicholas Thirkell 1986 – 2006
Iain Crockart 1994 – 2002
Ian Chilvers 1994 – 1998
Neil Walker 1994 – 2011
Location New Bond Street, London, UK 1979 – 1982 Regent Street, London, UK 1982 – 1986 Brownlow Mews, Bloomsbury, London, UK 1986 – 2008


In 1985, Mike Dempsey met a young conductor called Christopher Warren-Green at a recording session for a film that Mike had designed the title sequences. The meeting was to be exceptionally fortunate because not long after, Christopher phoned to say that he was forming a new chamber orchestra. It became the London Chamber Orchestra (LCO) and wanted CDT to create the identity. 

Warren-Green was keen to embrace a younger audience, which became the brief. It was to be one of CDTs key projects receiving a D&AD Silver award and led CDT into a wider world of music.

1 LCO 1990 800wi extend

Poster for Classical Music Bloody Loud advertising the amplified London Chamber Orchestra concert at Hammersmith Odeon in 1990. Photography by Lewis Mulatero.

2 LCO 1989 06 02 at 11 35 10 extend

Three of twelve album covers for LCO from 1988 to 1989. Photography by Andy Seymour.

3 LCO 2004 06 02 at 11 58 58 extend

Four LCO seasonal concert programmes.


Cover for the LCO Power Concert programme 1990.

English National Opera (ENO)

CDT's work for London Chamber Orchestra (LCO) caught the attention of the English National Opera's publicity director Keith Cooper. He had looked at five other consultancies before we appeared; on showing him the LCO work, he'd found what he was looking for. That became a decade relationship with ENO, spawning some of our best work and garnering two D&AD Silver Awards.

1 ENO HI RES 1 extend

The Return of Ulysses. Orfeo / Orfeo Photo by Barbara & Zafer Baran

2 ENO HI RES 6 extend

Figaro's Wedding, Photo by Lewis Mulatero.

3 ENO HI RES 5 extend

The Duel of Tancredi and Clorinda / Bulebeard's Castle, Photo by Michael Hoppen.

4 ENO HI RES 3 extend

Don Giovanni, Photo by Robert Shackleton.

5 ENO FLAG 134 LR extend

The ENO logo.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail had been a client of CDT since 1980; in 1984, CDT conceived and designed the first Royal Mail Year Book, winning a D&AD Gold Award for it in the same year. CDT went on to produce it for further ten years; in addition not only created many stamp issues handled by both Nichols Thirkell and Mike Dempsey, but the latter set the style, directed art, and commissioned artists, Illustrators and photographers to work on 48 individual stamps in 1999 for Royal Mail’s Millenium 2-year programme of stamp issues winning a D&AD Silver award for all the commissioned creatives of each of the 48 stamps.


Spread for the Royal Mail Special Stamps yearbook, 1985.


Stamps from top to bottom: 
Victoria Britain, 1987.
Transport & Communication, 1988.
Dogs, 1991.
Christmas, 1992.

3 ROYAL MAIL YEAR BOOK 1991 IMG 1097 small

Royal Mail Special Stamps yearbook, 1991.

4 ROYAL MAIL STAMPS 2006 extend

Stamps and first-day cover for Sounds of Britain 2006. Photographer Paul Smith

5 ROYAL MAIL STAMPS 2001 extend

Royal Mail first and second class definitive stamps, 2001.

Victoria & Albert Museum and Barbican Centre

The three partners never turned their backs on the publishing world. They had a broad network of editors, picture reachers, photographers and illustrators to draw from, giving them a significant advantage over many consultancies. The V&A and Barbican were regular clients, and here are three projects created for them.

1 VA BOOK 1986 small

Indian Animals Daybook, featuring Indian art, 1986.

2 VA BOOK 1988 small

Colour Books on textile designs from the V&A Archive, 1988.

3 VA BOOK 1987 small

Russian Style 1700-1920 about costume design on show at the Barbican Centre, 1987.

The Royal Society of Arts

CDT designed and art-directed the RSA Journal from 1999 - 2002. 

Shown are three covers.

RSA JOURNAL 1998 1999 extend