Added : December 16, 2007

Last Updated: November 16, 2010

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TOPIC / Graphic Design

Australian Designer & Illustrator, Donald Fish (b. 1929)


Australian Designer & Illustrator, Donald Fish (b. 1929)

I don’t recall ever coming across the name Donald Fish before today. But after reading his daughter’s brief biography, I’m very interested to learn more about the talented graphic designer and illustrator.

Credit information for image shown: Cover design for in-house bank publication, Currency, 1957.

excerpt from biography by Charlotte Fish below, (via design hub):

“Donald Fish is a graphic designer, illustrator, writer and cartoonist whose career spans 60 years —" from 1945 to 2005. His daughter Charlotte Fish records his career. Fish has produced logotypes, packaging, illustrations and TV commercials as well as award-winning Australian poster designs. In 1951 Fish moved to London where he created posters for clients such as Cadbury’s and National Benzole, and record covers for Decca and Telefunken. The humour and drama of the European posters Fish found in Paris in the early 50s —" particularly the work of Leupin and Savignac –" fuelled his passion for the medium. 'The most striking thing was the way they used ideas, because the idea is the lifeblood of a poster —" the visual penetrates the eye, but the idea penetrates the mind,' said Fish. Upon his return to Australia in 1954, Fish adopted the European-style poster —" designing and writing arresting posters for national and international clients including AWA, the Commonwealth Bank, Johnson & Johnson, NSW Tourism, P&O, Peek Freans, Qantas, Resch’s, Schweppes, STC and Tooth’s Beer. 1955—"60 saw his work appear in prestigious international design publications such as Graphis and Modern Publicity. At this time, Fish shared a studio with renowned Australian sculptor Robert Klippel, with whom he also collaborated on various industrial and packaging design ventures. In 1957, Gordon Andrews commissioned Fish to design two large murals for the Australian Department of Trade’s Food Fair in Köln, Germany. Fish and Andrews also formed part of the group of designers and architects who inaugurated the Sydney chapter of the Industrial Design Institute of Australia in 1958...”


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Brian Slawson said on December 16, 2007

Nice figure/ground in your posted image!


Rita McCulloch said on February 27, 2008

By accident I met Mr Don Fish whilst I was doing a drawing for a lino cut whilst waiting for my ferry not long ago. This man is not only a gentleman but a truly inspiration. His work just echos the style and aesthetics I love. If anyone knows more about Mr Don Fish and how I could get into contact again with him or his daughter, Charlotte please email me at [email protected] I'm also keen to learn and see more of his work. I hope someone does a retrospective of his work! :) Rita


grain edit said on April 09, 2008

I really like this. Did he use cut paper?


Karen Horton said on April 09, 2008

I’m not sure. Unfortunately all I know about this designer was from this one article written by Donald Fish’s daughter for DesignHub.


Charlotte Fish said on April 18, 2008

Karen, it's great to see Dad's work featured here - we have been archiving it over the last year for a possible upcoming exhibition in Sydney. Well-known in his heyday for his posters, he is still drawing & writing at 78 (he was actually born in 1929). In answer to the above, Dad drew "Currency" in pencil and then coloured it by hand. Being old school, he is mystified by computers! If you would like any more information or imagery, please email me at [email protected] - I'd be happy to assist!