Postage impressionism

Hannah Booth examines a set of postcards illustrating the ruminations of graphics supremo Alan Fletcher

When you’re Alan Fletcher – co-founder of Pentagram, legendary purveyor of graphic design to clients from Penguin Books to BP to Transport for London among hundreds – you are probably granted more leeway than your average graphic designer.

Even among his hugely talented peers at the Graphic Europe conference in Berlin earlier this month, Fletcher was received with more reverence and awe than perhaps any other speaker, Peter Saville being the possible exception.

So publisher Phaidon probably, rightly, thought it was on to a winner when it decided to publish a selection of Fletcher’s ‘images, ideas, useless information, quotations and scraps’ in postcard form. And Fletcher, as Phaidon’s consultant art director and no fool, probably thought it was a good idea too.

Of course, one talented man’s scraps are another’s precious booty, particularly if you’re a designer. But it’s not just graphics specialists who are the target audience. According to the box’s exterior, the collection is aimed at ‘accountants, chaps, poets, soulmates, brothers, dentists, judges, hippies…’. The list goes on. Basically, anyone who might ever want to send a postcard.

The postcards are adorned with Fletcher’s trademark graphics: typographical game-playing, his unmistakable delicate, spiky handwriting, and suitably thought-provoking, or just plain funny, aphorisms. These include ‘Writing is thinking in ink’ and ‘Never eat more than you can lift’.

The large format used, and the big blank spaces on the back for your own words, should ensure these postcards keep Royal Mail busy in the coming months. And find a home on every graphic studio’s noticeboard.

100 Maverick Postcards by Alan Fletcher, a wooden box containing 100 colour postcards, is published next month by Phaidon, priced £14.95

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