When studying graphic design, one of my greatest design heroes was the late alan fletcher.
Alan fletcher, one of the five founders of pentagram and one of the world’s greatest designers, died in september 2006 after a private 18-month struggle with cancer. He was born in 1931 in nairobi and moved to london as a child. He studied art and design at four different schools — hammersmith, the central school, the royal college of art, and yale — and worked in new york, chicago, barcelona and milan before returning to london in 1959. Pentagram was formed in 1972.
He famously once said: “i’d sooner do the same on monday or wednesday as I do on a saturday or sunday. I don’t divide my life between labour and pleasure.
At pentagram, his work and client base was remarkably diverse: identities and signage programs for the big boys like reuters, the commercial bank of kuwait, lloyds and ibm on one hand, and small personal projects on the other. “I’m a split personality,” he once was quoted saying. “I do quite large, complex corporate identity jobs. I enjoy that, but I also enjoy sitting round doing my own little things, which are invariably the ones that don’t pay.” So in 1992 he went off on his own to focus on his creative obsessions. These were eventually compiled in his 2001 masterpiece, the art of looking sideways, a staggering tour de force of visual and written delight with over 1,000 pages. It’s really a visual thinking bible. If you don’t own a copy i urge you to at least take a look at one. While doing so check out some of his other books here and here. They’re all very inspiring.
In this youtube clip, Alan Fletcher explains his book perfectly:
From 11 november 2006 – 18 february 2007, the design museum held a major exhibition of fletcher’s work – alan fletcher: fifty years of graphic work (and play) Unfortunately he died as the show was being put together, a couple of months before it opened. I visited quite a few times and it has stayed with me ever since. The images i took are not really good quality. It was very dark and this was before the iphone was invented. I used an old, simple point and shoot but still believe it’s worth showing you some of my favourites that were on display.
Do you know his work and do you have any favourite images?