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(John David) Ruari McDowall Hardie McLean


1917 - 2006

Typographer and graphical designer. Born in Newton Stewart (Galloway), the son of a customs officer, McLean was educated in England. He trained in printing in Germany and at the Edinburgh School of Printing and served with distinction in the Royal Naval Reserve during World War II, being awarded the Croix de Guerre (1942) and the Distinguished Service Cross (1943). His wartime exploits were wittily described in his book Half Seas Under (2001). After the war he worked briefly for Penguin Books, before striking out into new ventures including the Eagle comic (1950). His publications include Modern Book Design (1951), Victorian Book Design and Colour Printing (1963), Magazine Design (1969) and the Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography (1980). He also acted as a consultant to notable magazines such as The New Scientist and The Observer.

McLean and his partner, Fianach Jardine, moved their business from London to Dollar (Clackmannanshire), where they worked on the design of important books such as the Concise Scots Dictionary and a New Testament in Scots.

He was appointed typographical adviser to Her Majesty's Stationery Office (1966) and served as a Trustee of the National Library of Scotland from 1981, to whom he gifted much material which now forms the Ruari McLean Archive. He was awarded a CBE in 1973.

With his wife, Antonia, McLean maintained a home on the island of Mull in addition to Dollar.


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