Commercial Art

Robert worked as a commercial artist on the side for much of his artistic career. He illustrated and designed books for family publishing company Lancelot Press, but he had many other clients for whom he designed logos, posters, wedding invitations and signs. Robert’s strong interest in design was fuelled by the belief that good design could improve people’s lives. Robert had a mania for improving not just the look of things but the way systems operated. He transformed Lancelot Press top to bottom and, in the process, changed the way everyone at the company worked. Robert continually tinkered with his own working methods in a quest for maximum efficiency, especially as his health declined. As a teenager, Robert taught himself calligraphy, painting letters on wooden boards by the hour. His first clients included the Windsor tennis club and a local mortgage company. In his publishing work, Robert studied page layout and font styles and collected patterns that ranged from marble surfaces to geometric tiles. Robert occasionally resented the time his commercial work took from his painting, but the two fields often overlapped. For instance, his book Illness & Healing was both Lancelot Press’s greatest achievement  and Robert’s most ambitious art project.