Alan Gerard Fletcher, designer: born Nairobi 27 September 1931; partner, Fletcher Forbes Gill 1962-65; partner, Crosby Fletcher Forbes 1965-72; RDI 1972; founding partner, Pentagram Design 1972-92; President, Designers and Art Directors Association 1973; International President, Alliance Graphique Internationale 1982-85; married 1956 Paola Biagi (one daughter); died London 21 September 2006.(www.wikipedia.com)
Returning to London in 1959, Fletcher took a space in the studio of his former classmate Colin Forbes and in 1962 the pair teamed up with the American designer Bob Gill to create Fletcher Forbes Gill. As a team they had an ability to combine the formal restraint of Swiss modernism with the wit of the Madison Avenue advertising industry that set them apart from other British design firms. Fletcher's iconic work from the period, such as the bus-side advertisement for Pirelli slippers in which the passengers become the wearers of the slippers, has lost none of its spark.
Enjoying, as they did, fast-growing commercial success, their creative ambitions grew to match. In the mid- Sixties they decided that the best way to communicate the identity of Shell Petroleum was to reconfigure the furniture of the garage forecourt into the letters SHELL. Although this extraordinary project never came into being, it prompted a new partnership with Theo Crosby and transformed them into London's leading multidisciplinary design firm.
Crosby Fletcher Forbes evolved into Pentagram in 1972. The company's highly innovative structure in which every partner acts as an independent profit centre while each is paid the same has allowed it to grow from a five-partner (hence the name), London-based firm to a, currently, 18-way firm with offices in five cities.
Alan Fletcher was the father figure of British graphic design. Through his companies Fletcher Forbes Gill, Crosby Fletcher Forbes and later Pentagram, he revolutionised the practice and the business of visual communication, introducing Britain to punchy, ideas-based graphics and helping transform design from a decorative extra into a key element of corporate and public life.
As far as Fletcher was concerned the starting point of a piece of work was not how it should be done, but why. His professional approach was characterised by a rigour and perfectionism that went uncompromised over his 50-year.