Colin Forbes, a graphic designer with countless logos, book covers and interior spaces, has essentially the most permanent job of Pentagram, a design organization that has grown around the world since its inception in the early 1970s. It may have been a design. His influence died Sunday at his home in Westfield, North Carolina, near the Virginia border. He was 94 years old.
Michael Gericke, Pentagram’s current partner, has confirmed his death.
Forbes was already a successful designer, working with four others to create a pentagram in London. Forbes and his co-founders Alan Fletcher, Theo Crosby, Marvin Klulansky and Kenneth Grange wanted something somewhere between the boutique company and Madison Avenue’s big concerns. Forbes was the main architect of what they came up with: a partnership structure that balances independence and collaboration.
“As co-founder of Pentagram, he shaped a unique structure for his intuitive and unique partners to work as individuals within a collective framework of height, collegiality and business insight. “I said in an email.
During the first 20 years of the partnership, the “business insight” part of the equation was primarily from Forbes.
“During these early days, one of us who was first worried about cash flow, the need for more studio space, or what would happen in five years, did the job of permanently planning the company’s progress. I got it, “Forbes wrote in 1992. Pentagram’s 20th Anniversary Essay. “It happened to be me.”
Recent projects include Jack Daniel’s limited edition bottle label, the Bakeware line from the French brand Soufflé, the Great Western Railway Ticket Hall at Paddington Station in London, and the Shakespeare promotion campaign in a park in New York. With a huge portfolio of pentagrams.
Forbes was also a great designer in itself. One of the examples quoted by Mr. Gericke was the cover of the 1979 book. “Design by George Nelson” One of the first projects after Forbes moved to New York and opened a Pentagram office there. Forbes came up with a concept within a word that has often been imitated since then. He played a dual role with the “on” of “Nelson” as a preposition, and the rest of Nelson’s name was white.
The logo that Nissan used for many years was also a work of Mr. Forbes, and designs such as Pirelli and British Petroleum were well known at that time. His career included a significant expansion in this area, where graphic designers went beyond logos and book covers to consulting on interior spaces, corporate identities and more. Forbes was a London craft in his twenties when he graduated from the Central School of Arts.
“When I came out, I guessed if you could do part-time education and some book covers, it would be Christmas,” he was in Hawaii in 1991 in Honolulu advertising. I mainly talked to you. “So I never thought I would be standing in front of Neiman Marcus’s board and telling them how to improve their business in Dallas.”
Colin Ames Forbes was born on March 6, 1928 in London to John and Kathleen (Ames) Forbes. He fulfilled a mandatory mission in the British Army from 1945 to 1949, initially with a completely different background in mind.
“When I left the Army in 1949, I was thinking of doing aircraft engineering because’aircraft’was so romantic for people of my generation,” he told an advertiser in Honolulu. Instead, he took advantage of a grant program for veterans, graduated in 1952 and went to the Central School of Arts and Crafts. He taught at school for some time, but by 1960 he had left for private practice.
In 1962 he formed Fletcher / Forbes / Gil with Mr. Fletcher. Bob Gil.. Eye-catching works such as Pirelli, Time Life, and Penguin Books capture the spirit of Swinging Sixties, which has transformed popular culture in London and beyond.
“As a team,” the Independent of Britain wrote in 2006 in Fletcher’s obituary. “They had the ability to combine the formal suppression of Swiss modernism with the wit of Madison Avenue’s advertising industry.”
Crosby replaced Gil in that partnership in 1965.
Forbes helped launch the Pentagram in 1972. When he retired in 1993, he soon retired. He confirmed that the structure of the company could continue even after the founder was no longer involved. (Mr. Grange last left in 1997.) Many small companies do not survive beyond the first generation, but this year Pentagram celebrates its 50th anniversary and 23 partners permeate modern life. I am.
Forbes’ first marriage to Elizabeth Hopkins in 1950 ended with a divorce. In 1961 he married Wendy Maria Schneider. She survived him with his children, Christine Coppe, Aaron Forbes, Jessica Forbes, and three grandchildren.
Forbes was president of the American Graphic Arts Institute for several years in the 1980s. In 1991 he received the prestigious AIGA Medal for his extraordinary achievements in this field.
“Through most of his long and successful career in graphic design,” said the biographical sketch prepared for that opportunity. “Forbes is nothing more than designing the practice of the design itself with his wonderful energy. It makes him a designer in a very special sense.”