Thursday, 1 April 2010

Alan Fletcher - Fifty years of graphic work (and play)

"Design is not a thing you do, It's a way of life"
- Alan Fletcher

I recently visited the Alan Fletcher exhibition at the Cube Gallery in Manchester. The exhibition is the same collection I saw at the Design Museum shortly after his death in 2006! The exhibition celebrated the life and work of one of Britons finest Graphic Designers. A man who's intelligent approach to witty design and a fantastic understanding of communication has shaped graphics for over 50 years. Fletcher was probably the first artist that really inspired me to want to do design. I enjoyed the playfulness of alot of his work, and more than anything the hand crafted style he uses throughout. Looking at his vast range of work now, compared to when I first saw it means I can appreciate it in a completely different way. The first time I saw the exhibition it made me realise how much I loved design but I couldn't tell you why, whereas now after a few years learning about design and taking on a real understanding of what design is I have really enjoyed revisiting the same exhibition and looking at the work from a design angle. I think the beauty with Alan Fletchers work is that it can be enjoyed by anyone, I suppose most forms of graphics should be able to appeal to a wide audience as its communication however Fletchers precise playful approach is amazing. The broad range of work on display also shows the multitude of skills and opportunities that his career has given him, and is brilliant to see such an array of different design outcomes. I found the section dedicated to his book 'The Art of Looking Sideways' was fantastic as it showed how he went about designing the book that he effectively spent a lifetime making! I have been to four exhibitions of Alan Fletchers work since 2006 and everytime I am blown away by his work even though it is always the same. One thing that really inspires me looking at his work is the simplicity he uses. The art of making something look so effortless yet perfect at the same time. A truly brilliant collection.

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