Alan Fletcher was one of the powerhouses of contemporary British graphic design. He worked for more than 50 years designing everything from corporate identities - logos, literature, advertising, signage, calendars - to toys, books, newspapers and office interiors.
He was fully committed to his creativity. 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.
Fletcher was not a man who needed a computer to express his ideas. Wherever he went he left a trail of collages, thumbnail sketches, portraits, graphic fragments, visual puns — the products of an endlessly curious and inventive mind.
Towards the end of his career he published a book that he himself once compared to giving birth to the graphic design equivalent of War and Peace. “The Art Of Looking Sideways”, was at least 18 years in the making. The manuscript used to accompany him on his travels, tucked into a black canvas attaché case, seldom out of his sight.
It was worth the wait. The Art of Looking Sideways (2001) is an extraordinary 533-page compendium of "the workings of the eye, the hand, the brain and the imagination". It is witty and wise, profound and playful, philosophical, personal and presented with Fletcher's customary elegance. It is an absolutely extraordinary and inexhaustible "guide to visual awareness", a virtually indescribable concoction of anecdotes, quotes, images and bizarre facts that offers a wonderfully twisted vision of the chaos of modern life.
And for those wanting to learn more about the man, this week the Alan Fletcher Archive, has gone live. The site covers Fletcher's design work from his student years in the 1950s right up to work completed shorty before his death in 2006 and is the very best collection of Alan’s creative legacy.