Simon Downs originally trained in a particularly traditional school of illustration, but the rapid evolution of digital communications design forced him to rethink his design practice. In turn he became; a digital illustrator, a digital animator, an interaction designer, a multimedia designer and editorial designer; working in London for the finance and publishing sectors.
In the year 2000 he became a university lecturer at DeMontfort University, prompting another round of reflection on the nature of producing visual communication. A process which became rather more urgent in 2003 when he joined Loughborough University as a lecturer and design researcher. He is currently the Programme Director for Graphic Communication & Illustration.
Simon has been an editor with the journal of drawing and visualisation TRACEY since 2003, founded the the political visual culture journal The Poster with Intellect Books in 2009 (as Lead Editor), wrote the book The Graphic Communication Handbook in 2011 for Routledge (in which year he also won the Loughborough University Lecturer of the Year award). He writes on visual communication (including drawing) as a complex system, is a Director of the Drawing Research Network and is a trades union representative for the UCU union.