Donald Fish

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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.

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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.

Shortly after his return to London in 1961, the Australian Treasury invited Fish to submit designs for the new decimal currency of the 1960s, however he reluctantly declined the commission owing to his commitments in the UK.

Back in Australia again in 1964, Fish co-founded the Kaleidoscope, a famously avant-garde antique shop in Sydney’s Woollahra, with wife Victoria and friend Grant Roberts. Its success was confirmed by its choice as the venue for Liza Minnelli’s Sydney-based television show.

By 1970, Fish was Creative Director (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide) for the US agency, Compton International, winning a Bronze Lion at the Venice Film Festival for client British Airways with writer, John Flanagan. The same campaign also won a Silver Logie at the Chicago Film Institute in 1974. In 1976, Fish created standout poster campaigns for Harry M Miller’s productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show. The latter was awarded Poster of the Year by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Australia.

Joining advertising agency Fountain Huie Fish in 1976 as Partner, Fish went on to create an international campaign for TIME magazine in 1981 that utilised its iconic front cover. This was supported by the release of promotional ‘TIME’ watches to media buyers. Other FHF clients included Club Med and Lufthansa German Airlines. Upon the sale of the agency to Clemenger’s in 1987, Fish went on to design for Northwest Airlines (US), Pirelli and Citroën until his retirement in 2005.

Don Fish’s other significant passion is music. He recently created a series of over 100 cartoons based on classical music themes that ran for 10 years in the ABC magazine, 24 Hours. Today he is expanding on this series with a view to publication, along with composing and writing.

He lives in Sydney with his wife of 46 years, Victoria.

Awards

Outdoor Advertising Association of Australia (OAAA) / Poster of the Year Awards
1955 Resch’s Export Pilsener (Thirst Thing’s First)
1956 ETA Superspread
1956 Peek Freans biscuits
1957 STC (For Tone it Stands Alone)
1972 British Airways (Leaf)
1973 British Airways (Flag)
1976 The Rocky Horror Show (Harry M Miller)

Industrial Design Institute of Australia (IDIA, later DIA)
1960 Elected Associate
1990s Elected DIA Fellow

Australian Commercial & Industrial Artists’ Association (ACIAA)
1960s
2 Bronze medals
Honorable mention
Certificate of Merit

Caxton Awards (Australian Newpapers’ Council)
1973’4 British Airways BOAC
Award for colour press
Award for B&W DPS (Travel & Transportation)

Venice Film Festival / Bronze Lion
1974 British Airways
Awarded jointly with writer, John Flanagan

Chicago Film Institute / Silver Logie
1974 British Airways (TV commercial)
Awarded jointly with writer, John Flanagan

Facts Awards
1979 Roche (TV commercial)
Transparent Man

Australian Writers and Art Directors Awards
1980 Roche Products Pty Ltd (TV commercial)

Clio Awards
1981
TIME Magazine international campaign (colour magazine)
TIME Elevates / TIME Entertains

Career Profile.
DOB 25.04.29
Donald Fish.
Designer and writer.

1945’1950, Sydney.
Lintas advertising agency / Junior designer at age 15.
Studied life drawing, painting and lettering at East Sydney Technical College (no graphic design courses at that time.) Promoted to Senior Designer at 21. Sent design work and illustration to international magazines and Sydney Ure Smith.

1951’1955, London. Travelled Europe.
London Press Exchange / Group Art Director.
Designed posters for National Benzole Petrol and Cadbury’s.
Moonlighted, producing record covers for Decca and others.
Used the pseudonym of D.Poisson so as not to upset the LPE.

Work published in Graphis and Modern Publicity.
Published in Graphis 54/55.
Ad for Brylcream shaving cream (under name D.Fish.)
Published in Modern Publicity 55/56 / Silver Jubilee Issue.
Record jacket for Decca(under pseudonym D.Poisson.)

1955’1961, Australia.
Freelance Commissions / Designed posters for:
AWA, Peek Freans biscuits, Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, ETA margarine, Schweppes, Johnson & Johnson, STC, Marville margarine, Tooth’s Beer, NSW Tourist Bureau, TOTAL petrol, P&O, OAAA Poster of the Year Awards. Several of these won Awards from the Outdoor Advertising Association of Australia.

Work published in Graphis.
Published in Graphis 1960.
Fish’s posters for the Commonwealth Bank and Tooth’s Beer are included in a feature on Australian designers.

Studios.
Shared a studio with Robert Klippel.
Started an industrial design group with Klippel and John Day from London.
Later had own studio on corner of Bent and Phillip Streets and then on corner of Phillip St and Martin Place with Grant Roberts.

1957 Murals.
Commissioned by Gordon Andrews to design two large murals for Exhibition in Köln, Germany, for the Department of Trade’s food fair’one for fisheries and one for primary industry.

1958 DIA.
Inaugurated Design Institute of Australia (DIA ‘ Sydney chapter) with Gordon Andrews, Roger Macleay and Carl Neilsen.

Packaging.
Commissioned by Robert Klippel to design packaging for a children’s game of his design.

Nestlé / series of 6 confectionary packages
Marchants / bottled drinks
Country Club / black and white illustrations for shirt company

Vogue.
Offered Art Directorship of Vogue Australia by Bernard Leser. Declined.

ACIAA Bronze Medal.
Commissioned by Commonwealth Bank to design Annual Report for 1957.
Report won Bronze Medal from ACIAA.

Family.
Married Victoria Stahursky, Art Director.

1961’1964, Europe/London.
Service advertising, Knightsbridge, London/ Art Director
Posters and magazine ads for Beefeater Gin, Benson’s of Bond Street, Denby Stoneware, Fairy Aviation and Suncrush etc.

Adrian Flowers.
The newly married Fishes are captured by photographer, Adrian Flowers, in a series of black-and-white portraits in London.

Currency design.
Asked to submit designs for new decimal currency to Australian Treasury.
Commission declined due to commitments in London.

1964’1969, Australia.
Jackson Wain ad agency / Art Director
Produced the Pacesetter campaign for Qantas.

Family.
Daughter Charlotte born.

Kaleidoscope.
Founded Kaleidoscope shop in Sydney’s Woollahra with wife Vicky and Grant Roberts selling all manner of antiques – the rare, the colourful and the outrageous. Photographs of the shop appeared in fashion magazines across Australia and various shows were produced based on the shop’s merchandise. The store was chosen by Liza Minnelli as the venue for her television show while in Sydney.

1969’1975
Compton International ad agency / Creative Director for Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.
Clients included Ampol, British Airways, Harry M Miller, Lysaght and NBN3. Designed posters and logo for NBN3.

1973’4 Caxton Awards.
Caxton Awards / Australian Newspapers’ Council British Airways BOAC press ads win two Caxtons.

1974 Bronze Lion at Venice Film Festival.
Venice Film Festival / Awarded a Bronze Lion for British Airways TV commercials featuring John Le Mesurier. Awarded jointly with writer, John Flanagan.

1974 Silver Logie at Chicago Film Institute.
Chicago Film Institute / Silver Logie
Awarded a Silver Logie for BA commercials mentioned above. Awarded jointly with writer, John Flanagan.

Family.
Son Eliot born. 1974.

Harry M Miller.
Commissioned by Harry M Miller to design posters for Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show.
The latter won an OAAA Poster of the Year award in 1976.

1976’1987
Fountain Huie Fish ad agency (Partner).
Accounts included Lufthansa, Roche, TIME magazine, Club Med and Grosby.
Conceived international campaign for TIME magazine and design for corporate TIME watch. Designed logo and corporate image for Department of Primary Industry.
Several TV and Print awards won during this time.

1987
Sold FHF to Clemengers.

1988’1994, Northwest USA, Pirelli & Citroën.
Freelance Commissions / Produced work for Northwest Airlines (US), Pirelli, Citroën and the Sydney Opera House, amongst others.

Russian Treasury.
Designed Gold Medal for the Russian Treasury to commemorate Perestroika and Glasnost.
Gorbachev deposed before medal could be produced.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
24 Hours magazine / Contributor.
Produced long-running cartoon series, ‘Moment Musical’. Over 100 cartoons on the subject of classical music were published over 10 years.

1994’2007
Now concentrating on writing and composing music.
Time split between farm at Kangaloon, Southern Highlands and city address.