artnet international

ALEXANDER STITT  Australia  1937 -                    Autobiographics, the book

Alexander Stitt admits to consistently taking a different approach and having had a predilection for packing in as much meaning as possible to each of his works. Informed by modernism, Stitt’s work was driven not simply by pure design, but also by narrative. He preferred simple stories and simple forms. Commencing as a freelance graphic designer before graduating from Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT University) with a Certificate of Art and Diploma in Advertising Design in 1956 was an early cue as to Stitt’s appetite for work. A trailblazer from the outset, Stitt created the first animated TV spots in Australia in 1956 and on cofounding Weatherhead & Stitt design studio with Bruce Weatherhead in 1964, they were the only design studio offering broadcast media as well as print. His Al et al studio picked up 17 awards in the Melbourne Art Directors’ show in their first year (1973), one for their own corporate style. Stitt likened the task of being asked to design stamps that would depict metric conversion, to Olympic selection. His use of cartoons to humanise the subject certainly got people talking. Stitt also called the nation to action. An association with Phillip Adams since the 50s in advertising led to a brief in 1975 that evolved into one of the best loved and longest running ad campaigns in Australia’s history. He brought us Norm, the couch-loving icon devised for the Life. Be in it campaign which commanded 94 percent awareness. Likewise Stitt’s dancing seagull in Adams’ Slip Slop Slap campaign for Cancer Council Australia launched in 1980, was one of the most successful campaigns in Australia’s history. Stitt’s work also asked people to think about disaster preparation, to read and do maths with their kids. It was his grinning devil graphics for Fred Schepisi’s first feature film in 1976, while working together at The Film House that prompted the director to name the film The Devil’s Playground. Their work on films continued beyond the business. Design and illustration for Bill Hannan’s Victorian Secondary Teachers magazine was another association that spanned decades. Stitt thrives on having a significant creative project on the go, and continues beyond his retirement in 2007 to enjoy challenges void of deadlines. He was inducted with Bruce Weatherhead into the AGDA Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame in 2011 for his significant contribution to Australian design. Sourced from DIA Design Hall of Fame


Autobiographics - a compilation of 50 years’ work by Australian graphic designer, illustrator, writer and animator Alex Stitt, published by Hardie Grant

Morningon Peninsular Winery 1996 -

an earlier giclée print by Alexander Stitt