We are saddened to inform of the passing of a New Zealand design and creative icon - someone you may never have heard of, and likely didn't realise his impact on New Zealand, and the nation's standing worldwide.
Colin Winton Simon, was born in Wallyford, Scotland in 1938, and emigrated with his family - mother Christina (born in Wallyford, Musselburgh), father John (born in Buckhaven, Fife, who had gone ahead in 1952 to join some of his siblings who had previously emigrated to New Zealand) and siblings - to New Zealand in 1953.
Colin expected to continue his schooling on arrival in New Zealand as a 15-year-old, however, family economic circumstances dictated that he would, in fact, be starting his working career, to assist the family in getting established in their new country.
He was already a talented artist, and musician, having completed the work; "Cat", on scratchboard, and a competent cornet player in a brass band in Scotland.
Colin went on to become an accomplished euphonium player, and was a member of various brass bands in New Zealand including the Hutt Civic and Hutt City Brass Band where he served for a period as president. He was also a member of the National Brass Band of NZ. His band days spanned over 50 years, and took him all over New Zealand.
His rendition of the haunting and beautiful work Peace, was featured on National Radio in the 1970s.
Colin started his working career as a cadet draftsman for the famous advertising agency - J Ilott Limited, in Wellington, working his way up to art director, alongside Jack Ilott, before later starting his own creative and design business - Colin Simon Design - which he ran until his progressive retirement in the mid 2000's. He never really retired - the ideas and interpretations just kept coming.
Colin created hundreds of major corporate logos and product designs, many of which would have been well known to New Zealanders, albeit they would not have known who created them, and he was a very talented designer, and marketing and branding strategist.
His hand-drawn illustrations were works to behold, barely distinguishable from a photograph. He was also a talented watercolour artist, and his many paintings are further testament to his creative legacy.
In 1971, Colin entered a national competition, conducted by the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Committee, which was restricted to professional designers, for the design of the logo for the forthcoming 10th British Commonwealth Games, to be held in Christchurch in 1974.
Colin's winning design, announced at the award ceremony in the Canterbury Society of Arts Gallery on February 22, 1971, has become an international pop culture icon, and an unofficial symbol of New Zealand.
It influenced Games logos, both Commonwealth and Olympic, for at least the following 20 years.
It has variously been described as genius, brilliant, a masterpiece, a watershed in New Zealand and International design, and heralded Colin as a master communication-designer and an astute strategist.
The competition rules actually specified the use of the colour black, and one other colour.
Colin believed his logo worked best, considering its intended application, in the traditional colours of the Commonwealth i.e. red, white and blue, and submitted his design in that scheme, on the last day of entries, hoping to attract the committee's attention.
To avoid disqualification, he also submitted an alternate design in black and silver.
The games committee judges agreed with his interpretation, which necessitated a complete change to the intended colour scheme for the games.
The logo became so popular that applications for its use by concessionaires, completely
overwhelmed the games committee.
Colin was awarded an ex-gratia payment of $1000, in addition to the design prize of $350, in recognition of his logo's enormous success.
His logo, in one simple yet complex design, captures five distinct elements of the games/country; country location (NZ), year (1974), Games number (Roman numeral X for 10th, dissects diagonally), Commonwealth connection (colours mimicking the Union Jack), and Maori heritage (stylised V's, used in Maori carvings, form the letters and numbers).
Colin's NZBC Games logo lives on today, over 50 years later, never losing its unique appeal and connection with the people and country of New Zealand, and the development of its culture and history, and remarkably, survivingentirely intact.
Colin won many other competitions and awards in his career, including in 1964 (won a trip to the USA and £100 spending money) 67, 68, 70, 71, 72.
Some of his ceramic designs were selected and produced by Crown Lynn Pottery, "Carnaby" probably the most recognisable, and some of his works are held in Te Papa, the Auckland Museum, The NZ Pottery Museum, Te Toi Uku, National Library of NZ, and elsewhere.
Colin was a generous yet private man, who has left a treasure trove of unpublished material which his family will in future strive to introduce into the public domain, for its pleasure.
Colin is survived by wife Carol, sons Andrew and Richard, grandchildren Thomas, Stephanie, Natalie, Lucy, Ella, great granddaughter Bella, and brother Robert and sister Nanette, and their respective families in Australia.
The Colin Simon legacy lives on.
• Australia-based Mitch Mazoudier is married to Colin Simon's sister Nanette.