Penn State

Fang Chen - graphic design professor, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Beware Wet Paint: Designs by Alan Fletcher

Author: Alan Fletcher

Book Description:

Over twenty years ago when I was a graduate student at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts, I spent most of my time in my favorite place, the school library. During that time, noting the singular work of the English graphic designer Alan Fletcher in Graphis, Domus and other publications, I was fascinated by his ideas. His work could always bring you some visual surprise.


When I graduated, I became a faculty member at another university, but the library was still my favorite place to spend time. One day, after reading an article in a Japanese magazine about Alan Fletcher’s new calendar design with twelve Chinese horoscope animals, I wrote a letter to him. I was very surprised to receive a witty response. Our friendly correspondence turned into the first Chinese publication of The World Master Series: Design Magician: Alan Fletcher, in 1996. Since the emphasis in this book was conceptual analysis based on my understanding rather than final presentation, it was very well received.



That year, Alan sent me his newly published book Beware Wet Paint. With excitement, I found that this book is exactly the one I dreamt of—it not only included Alan’s main work from over three decades, but most importantly it focused on the design process, research methodologies and the analytical thinking behind the final solutions. When I read this book I always recall an ancient Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish, he will eat for a meal; teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.”

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