A tribute to J. Brian Davies

We are grateful to past Icograda President Niko Spelbrink, who drafted this tribute to Brian Davies. We remember Brian fondly for his contributions to Icograda and for his integrity, wisdom and wit.

Eighteen years ago Icograda had a worldwide presence but did not have the 'clout' that it does now.

A great variety of ideas existed in the perception of the value of graphic design. It was clear at the time that this variety was informed by different cultures worldwide and, more specifically, due to different phases in economic
development in different regions. Neither of these factors surprise us today.

The message needed to go out that the practice of design was an effective tool in promoting mutual understanding on Planet Earth and, properly applied, a powerful tool in the economy. A great idea and a big ambition.

This ambition took shape as the 'Icograda Foundation'. As usual with great ideas, a practical mind was needed  to make it happen. This practical mind was found in Brian Davies.

Brian died on the 24 October 2009 at his home in Poole in Dorset in England. A man of integrity, wisdom and wit, remembered with love and affection.

As a banker, he was better equipped than any of our Icograda Members with the know-how and the wherewithall to raise a considerable sum of money to fund the Foundation as well as to achieve ‘charitable status’ for this new institution.

The Icograda Foundation was established 'for the advancement of worldwide understanding and education through the effective use of graphic design'.

Brian organised the first ever auction of contemporary international posters (donated by institutions and designers throughout the world) at Sotheby's Auction House in London the 2 May 1996. This not only raised funds for the Icograda Foundation but established an international market and benchmark for posters.

The Icograda Foundation continued to run the highly regarded 'London Seminars', originally established by President Henri Henrion. Each February up to 2,000 graphic design students gathered in London to learn from and be inspired by famous international designers.

The Foundation also granted scholarships for students to attend Icograda events.

Brian Davies worked to enhance these seminars and worked closely with successive Presidents of Icograda on Foundation matters including Niko Spelbrink, Helmut Langer, Giancarlo Iliprandi, Philippe Gentil, Guy Schockaert and Mervyn Kurlansky.

Jointly with Marion Wesel-Henrion, he received the Icograda President's Award in 1995 in grateful recognition from the design community for his largely voluntary efforts on behalf of Icograda.

In 1996, Brian married Mary V. Mullin, who was Secretary General of Icograda for fourteen years. They retired to live in Poole where they continued to welcome their Icograda friends and designers from around the world.

Through the 'Foundation' we will fondly remember Brian Davies.