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Ken Garland
A graphic celebration 

Sarah Schrauwen 

Family, friends and admirers of Ken Garland gathered on Tuesday 12 February at the St Bride Library in London for 'A graphic celebration' of the man's life and work, on the occasion of Unit Editions' publication of Ken Garland: Structure and Substance

After a short introduction by the book's author Adrian Shaughnessy, Ken Garland ‘took to the stage’ (he is famous for delivering his lectures while moving amongst the audience). He talked briefly about his time as a student at Central School of Arts and Crafts, feeling 'the delight of discovery' and his joy in trying to represent movement in a still image.

A student excerise by Garland from Edward Wright's evening classes in experimental typography

The slide show that followed presented images of work from the start of his career in the 1950s, through to the end of Ken Garland and Associates in the 1980s. What could have been a self-centred delivery turned into a homage to Garland's teachers, collaborators, associates and clients. Out of respect for this humble gesture, here is the full tribute:

Edward Wright (typography teacher)
Nigel Henderson (photography teacher)
William Slack (editor, Architectural Review)
Herbert Spencer (teacher and publisher)
John Garner (photographer)
Harriet Crowder (photographer)
Brian Grimley (art editor)
Ivor Kamlish (designer, model for Garland's photography)
Paul and Marjorie Abbatt (first real clients, toy makers)
James Galt (owner of Galt Toys)
Eric Smellie (designer)
Daria Gan (designer and illustrator)
Ruth Garland (daughter, ‘model’ and illustrator)
Robert Chapman (first associate)
Ray Carpenter (second associate)
Malcolm Quantrill (client and ‘model’)
Wanda Garland (wife)
Norman Moore (associate and illustrator)
Peter Kneebone (illustrator)
Gill Scott (designer)
Peter Cole (designer)
Richard Marston (designer)
Phil Sayer (photographer)
Colin Bailey (associate)
Anna Carson (designer)

The designer Ivor Kamlish, photographed by Ken Garland for a spread in Design magazine

Garland's daughter Ruth (second from right) playing with her friends at a photoshoot for Design magazine

Ken’s lecture was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Shaughnessy. The panel consisted of: Anne Odling-Smee, Garland's student at Reading University; Fraser Muggeridge also a student at Reading under Garland, who now invites him to be part of his yearly Typography Summer School; Richard Hollis, who met Garland in the 1950s when the latter was working on banners for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Mafalda Spencer, who has known Ken Garland her whole life – her father Herbert Spencer was a friend of Garland’s; and finally Ray Carpenter, Garland's second studio associate.

The panel provided many insights into Garland's teaching (how he treats each student as an individual and makes him or her feel special); his design practice (how it's important to communicate the client's message and not your own, to draw influence not just from graphic design but everything around you); his unforgettable lectures (how he fired a starting pistol to get attention or took his trousers down); his attitude towards collaborating designers (how he treated them as equals instead of assistants, and how he placed enormous trust in them – Ray Carpenter remembers being left to run the studio on his own while Garland went on a three-week holiday with his family).

The evening showed why everyone that has ever met the man has a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him. Keep hold of those signed monographs, they're precious. 


Ken Garland: Structure and Substance
by Adrian Shaughnessy – the first complete monograph of Ken Garland's work.



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