Nationality: British
Born: 1931
Died: 2006
Famous For: his companies Fletcher Forbes Gill, Crosby Fletcher Forbes and later Pentagram.

In his obituary, the Telegraph called Alan Fletcher “the most highly regarded graphic designer of his generation, and probably one of the most prolific”.

Not a bad accolade by any means.

I believe my own first experience with Alan Fletcher was through his book, The Art of Looking Sideways

Browsing the Art college library when the typographic cover caught my eye.

As was to be expected from a master of visual communication, it led me to want more.

Flicking through the pages, each turn led to something more amazing.

Genuinely I went back around 5 or 6 times to renew it until I was told someone else had ordered it. ‘From my cold dead hands’ I thought.

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.

As a founder of Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in the 1960s and Pentagram in the 1970s, Alan Fletcher became one of the most influential graphic designers in both Britain and the US.

A multi-disciplinary “visual jackdaw”, Fletcher worked on a range of projects from corporate identities to book covers and posters.

V&A Logo– Designed in 1989

Reuters Logo– Designed in 1965 (Retired in 1992)

Beware Wet Paint — Screenprint, 1996

John Elliot Cellars Limited — Poster, 1977

London Bus Advert: Pirelli Slippers — 1962

Circus Restaurant & Bar — Designed in 1998

Leaving Pentagram after 20 years, in 1991, Fletcher decided freelancing would offer more and set up a home Studio in London.

He worked for more than 50 years, seemingly without ever stopping. On holidays, while others read or dozed in the sun, Fletcher would be peering over his half-glasses, pencil and notebook to hand, putting down on paper his version of the world around him.

Truthfully, he’s an inspiration to me, not just because of his work, but because of his mentality.

Don’t just design for money, design for love.

Keep doodling, drawing, sketching, painting, whatever you do, stay creative and creating until the day you die.

Notice I didn’t say ‘retire’, for that is what those who hate their job do when they’ve had enough — design is more than that.

Related Article: How to Present Your Graphic Design Services Online

As Alan Fletcher himself states, “Design is not a thing you do. It’s a way of life”.

Alan Fletcher Quotes on Design

I like to reduce everything to its absolute essence because that is a way to avoid getting trapped in a style.

Design is not a thing you do. It’s a way of life

Design is what happens between conceiving an idea and fashioning the means to carry it out.

A person without imagination is like a teabag without hot water.

Thinking is drawing in your head.

Further Reading

The Art of Looking Sideways

Alan Fletcher

Picturing and Poeting

Alan Fletcher

Beware Wet Paint: Designs of Alan Fletcher

Alan Fletcher

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T: @inkbotdesign F: /inkbotdesign

Inkbot Design a Creative Graphic Design Agency in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Experts in Logo Design and Branding.

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