GDC Fellow

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Giles Talbot Kelly, FGDC

Giles was born in 1929 in the middle of England into the fifth generation of two families of artists and writers, within a hundred metres of the site of the first ever game of Rugby football. He arrived early and has not been late since, living slightly ahead of his times as best he could. He was educated in a medieval castle on the Scottish Borders, Rugby School, as a scholar at the Architectural Association and Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design. He served as an infantry platoon commander at the sharp end in the Korean War.

Apprenticed after military service to James Gardner, he worked in advertising in London before moving to Dublin, where after further advertising experience, he started his own design consultancy, the first ever in Ireland. At the same time, he taught and founded Ireland’s first professional design society. He worked as a consultant to the Irish government before returning to England as Head of Design at what is now Coventry University. He was persuaded to go to Canada to work on the (then) new Ontario CAATs. There he started his own design consultancy. He was the third director of the School of Design at Sheridan.

In 1975 he was retained by the Federal Office of Design to attempt to combine the several design societies into a single, more coherent and viable unit, and at the same time revitalize the GDC under its then president, Carl Brett fgdc.

In 1977 he returned to England, once again as a Head of Department in a University. Here he developed major investigations into computing for designers, inter alia, and front-ran an international conference on the subject in 1982.

He has designed advertising for VW, Pan American, Clark’s Shoes, Carlsberg, and Rowntrees; retail stores; interiors for Powers Whiskey, Irish Sugar Company (ISC), Irish embassies, Irish Management Institute, IBM, 3M, Waterford Glass, Sheridan and Conestoga CAATs, Osgoode Hall, and the 2000-seat theatre for the Irish Transport and Workers Union in Dublin; textiles for hotels, Place Bonaventure, Crown Life, and ISC; furniture for ITGWU, IBM, IMI, ISC, Harrington Group, and retail stores; signage for Conestoga CAAT and retail stores; exhibitions for Battersea Pleasure Gardens, Aer Lingus, and Powers Whiskey; identities and print for Merit Investment Corporation, Shell, York University, IMI, Ian Percy, and Harrington Group; packaging for Beamish Stout, Imperial Tobacco, and Unilever; and research into re-use of workshop waste, dye technologies, and computing for designers.

He has devoted his life to catching up with his visions, mostly by his own proactivity. Giles passed away on September 1, 2006.