I first came across Ken’s work in the Unit Edition’s superb monograph, Structure and Substance, published in 2012. Although I had owned a few of the British industrial design magazines, Design, for a few years before, for which Ken had designed numerous covers.
Ken was born in 1929, in Southampton and grew up in a small market town in North Devon. He was a principled man, with strong values and views against the hyper-consumerism we live with today. Ken studied at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts in the 1950s and was taught by Herbert Spencer, Anthony Froshaug and Jesse Collins. Whilst at the School he studied alongside designers Ken Briggs, Alan Fletcher and Colin Forbes.
He launched his own small design agency Ken Garland Associates in the early 60s in Camden and has worked and lived there for over half a century. Their longest client retainer lasted 20 years, this was for James Galt and Company.
James Galt and Company itself was established in Manchester, 1836, but started trading toys on a retail level in 1961, simplifying its name to Galt Toys. They commissioned Ken to design a playful identity, packaging designs, catalogues, furniture and even the games themselves. The identity was set in Folio Medium Extended and Ken stated in the Unit Editions monograph, Ken Garland – Structure and Substance,
“[We] were determined not to let the Galt Toys logo become a sacred cow, not to be mucked about with (as was decreed with so many logos in the 50s and 60s). It would, indeed, be mucked around with, but only by us.
There is, I have to say, more than mere whimsy in these variants. With the eager involvement of my Associates I was totally devoted to breaking down the tyranny within which logotypes were normally constrained. I felt that they were best used as the starting point for design ideas, rather than as an inviolable, enshrined entity.”
Further info and references:
Unit Editions 09 – Ken Garland – Structure and Substance