Grant returned to Wellington in the 70’s after working with David Hillman on Nova magazine, the iconic London lifestyle magazine, to take up the position of art director at the Listener. For his sins he was given the responsibility of keeping contributing cartoonists Tom Scott and Burton Silver in line (and tone). He pushed the conservative Listener hard to improve editorial design standards battling a mindset that only recognised the power of words. Grant gave many photographers, kiwi illustrators and designers their first national exposure.
He met up with Ray Labone while at the Listener and later joined him in a graphic design collective where Grant secured publication design contracts for the New Zealand Wool Board’s ‘Natural Choice’ magazine and Hand knitting yarn company Crucci. Grant travelled the country and abroad on fashion shoots, in the company of attractive models and the photographers Sal Criscillo and Des Williams, who epitomised the image of the 70’s fashion photographers. Between them they managed the unlikely achievement of making women in cardies look sexy.
He joined Ray Labone in the Publication Graphics partnership which was successful in securing major corporate communications clients such as Fletcher Challenge and Brierley Investments. Publication Graphics changed its name to Designworks and during the 80’s corporate boom built a reputation for corporate communications design. In dealing with the CEO Grant would always exercise strong belief in his opinion based on his experience and skill. Grant could never be accused of rolling over to please the customer. He would stand his ground in the face of powerful men and as such earned their respect.
The rapid acquisition and growth period of the 80’s led to many changes of ownership and name in the New Zealand corporate world and the corporate identity design business flourished. With Grant’s input Designworks extended its reputation from corporate communications design to corporate identity, later moving on from corporate Identity to brand identity. While it was doing so Designworks was adding offices in Auckland and Sydney. Grant was manager and creative director of the Designworks Auckland office for a number of years.
Throughout his time with Designworks Grant was the driving force for design standards and professional development. He encouraged all Designworks design staff to become members of DINZ and to support their profession. He made it his business to ensure young designers received effective professional development and was responsible for hiring and developing some of the best designers in the business. Indeed throughout his career Grant has campaigned tirelessly to ensure design achieves high professional standards and that it gains recognition as a strategic business discipline.
Grant left Designworks in 1999 to establish the family design practice Studio Alexander. He has been a DINZ Council member and was twice convenor of the Best Awards. In 1992 he was made a Fellow member. He has won numerous design awards and continues to work at the cutting edge of the profession in both a creative and strategic role.