The Death of a Key Modernist Designer

Alan Fletcher, one of the most influential figures in post-war British graphic design, died last Thursday after a long battle with cancer. As co-founder of Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in the 1960s and Pentagram in the 1970s, his work combined creative independence with commercial success, and his clients included Olivetti, Reuters, Lloyds, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Fletcher was born in Kenya in 1931 and was brought up in London. He attended art school in Britain and later studied at Yale under Paul Rand and Josef Albers. After a stint working as an assistant for Saul Bass, Fletcher returned to London at the end of the 50’s, and in 1962 formed Fletcher/Forbes/Gill, later becoming Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes. He went on to establish Pentagram in 1972, which went on to become an international design company. In 1994, Fletcher became Creative Director of Phaidon, where he designed numerous books, including The Art Book and The Garden Book. His 2001 book The Art of Looking Sideways, was designed to be opened at random, and reflected his philosophy and ideas which married wit and ingenuity with elegance and modern design. This November, Phaidon will publish Alan Fletcher: Picturing & Poeting.

He recently donated his archive to the Design Museum in London, which will present the first retrospective of his work this November.

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