Alan Fletcher was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1931. He studied at the Hammersmith School of Art from 1949, then at the Central School of Art, and finally at the Royal College of Art from 1953 to 1956. In his 2006 obituary, he was described by The Daily Telegraph as "the most highly regarded graphic designer of his generation, and probably one of the most prolific".
He has been described a master of concept and form. A stalwart of the design industry, he came to prominence with the English design firm Fletcher Forbes Gill, which he co-founded in 1952. During the 1970s, Fletcher co-founded the inimitable Pentagram Design. It is now entrenched as design lore that Fletcher conceived of the firm's name while reading a book about witchcraft.
Fletcher 's book The Art of Looking Sideways is a loosely structured compilation containing intriguing graphic spreads punctuated with memorable quotations. It includes a marvel of accidental typography, a complete roman alphabet formed within found stratified rocks. Fletcher said of his work: "This book has no thesis, is neither a whodunit nor a how-to-do-it, has no beginning, middle or end. It's a journey without a destination."