Patrick – 20th century graphic designers – Alan Fletcher

“Thinking is drawing in your head.  Alan Fletcher

Alan Gerald Fletcher (27 September 1931 – 21 September 2006) was a British graphic designer

Synthesizing the graphic traditions of Europe and North America to develop a spirited, witty and very personal visual style, ALAN FLETCHER is among the most influential figures in British graphic design as a founder of Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in the 1960s and Pentagram in the 1970s.

Designed to be opened at random, The Art of Looking Sideways, Alan Fletcher’s 2001 book, is an unfailing source of wit, elegance and inspiration. At over a thousand pages, it is a spectacular treatise on visual thinking, one that illustrates the designer’s sense of play and his broad frame of reference

Alan Fletcher’s international design reputation was reflected by his commissions from major corporations and cultural institutions around the world. He was described in his obituary in The Guardian as ‘the quintessential illustrator and graphic designer, a man uniquely responsible for defining British graphic design with his witty and highly individual approach from the late 1950s onwards’.

Born in Kenya, but brought up in England from an early age, Alan Fletcher studied at the Hammersmith School of Art from 1949, and then at the Central School of Art, where he met and befriended Colin Forbes, Theo Crosby, Derek Birdsall and Ken Garland. After a year in Barcelona, he returned to London to study at the Royal College of Art from 1953 to 1956, where he met Peter Blake, Joe Tilson, Len Deighton, Denis Bailey, David Gentleman and Dick Smith.

In 1956, Fletcher took up a scholarship to study at the School of Architecture and Design at Yale University. He began his career in New York where he worked for the Container Corporation, Fortune magazine and IBM. He returned to London in 1959, having worked briefly for Saul Bass in Los Angeles and Pirelli in Milan. Back in London, he co–founded Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in 1962, with clients including Pirelli, Cunard, Penguin Books, BP and Olivetti.

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