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FHK Henrion – A centenary celebration, one of Britain’s best graphic designers

Category : Branding, Graphic Design, Legends · by Mar 3rd, 2014

Back in January I had the honour to go to a very special event:
FHK Henrion (1914-90): A centenary celebration at the St Bride Foundation.

An evening celebrating the life and work of FHK Henrion and the publication of FHK Henrion:
The Complete Designer (Unit Editions). By Adrian Shaughnessy.

Shaughnessy said, “When you study him, nobody came close,” He could have been an architect, an interior designer – and he knew about things such as perception theory long before it was fashionable, he’d studied all that. He was trained in a poster studio, he was well read and then became a part of the intellectual set”.

To be honest, I can’t really do him justice by just writing a few lines. His body of work and his work ethic was truly inspirational.

“A strange thing happened,” says Shaughnessy. “Because everyone else had learned this systematic, rationalised approach to design – a Henrion discipline – he rejected it. At heart he was a radical, he was opposed to the ‘over-professionalisation’ of design. With some design groups, he wondered why their motive was profit, not design.” (Source – Creative Review)

Tate+Lyle

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What surprised me was the Tate+Lyle logo. I know as a designer I should have known this before. But to my defence, this logo has been in my life for as long as I can remember. The packet of sugar in the cupboard next to the tea bags, I remember spending ages looking at it while making my cups of tea. It would always, and still does catch my attention, thinking why is this logo so flawless, so well engineered, so timeless… perfect. In a way, this was my daily inspiration. Adrian went on to mention the logo was based on sugar cubes… genius!

That alone made my day, to actually be at Mr Henrions centenary celebration, with fellow designers that worked with him and family members including his wife. Like they say, priceless.

Also, we had the luxury of meeting Ken Garland, the famously known designer for his ethically lead manifesto in 1964. He spoke without a mic, still outspoken and full of humour.

Ken_Garland

Henrion’s great sense of aesthetics extended to his personal style: He was always well dressed, wore a bow tie and ‘could charm women out of a tree’. We even had people at the event wearing bow ties as a salute to the iconic legend.

Below are some images of the comprehensive monograph by Adrian Shaughnessy of Henrion’s work.

FHK Henrion: The Complete Designer is published as a hardback book with foiled slipcase by Unit Editions; £65. Editors: Tony Brook, Adrian Shaughnessy. Design director: Tony Brook. Senior designer: Claudia Klat. Designer: Sarah Schrauwen. Design assistants: Victor Balko, Roos Gortworst. Archive photography: Sarah Schrauwen. See uniteditions.com (Source – Creative Review)

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Further reading:
Carey Dunne
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3024070/an-homage-to-fhk-henrion-one-of-britains-best-graphic-designers

Mark Sinclair
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2013/november/henrion-complete-designer-unit

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