A designer who broke the mould

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Friends and family have been remembering Graham Duffy, joint managing director of Graphic Partners and a well-known figure in the business world, who died on December 2, 2007.

Born in Edinburgh in 1942, Graham grew up in the Northfield area of the city with his brothers Brian, Kenneth and Gordon, and sister Jennifer.

He attended Parsons Green Primary and the Royal High, and after leaving school joined the print industry, where he worked for Pillans & Wilson and Waddies. He got a scholarship to Edinburgh College of Art to study typography and graphic design. After working as a graphic designer at Forth Studios, Graham set up Graphic Partners., which remains one of the leading design companies in Edinburgh today.

His business partner Ken Craig said: "Graham set up Graphic Partners with the aim of setting a new standard for design, and succeeded. The relationships he established with his clients were long-lasting and respectful.

"He was supportive of people, dignified, interested in high standards and passionate about design. Many people who started out with Graham have gone on to build their own businesses, and he always looked out for them once they moved on. We will all be poorer without him."

The business soon became well known in the Edinburgh design world.

Erick Davidson, executive chairman of city-based design company Tayburn, said: "Graphic Partners was the first design company in Edinburgh, and was the company everyone held up on a pedestal. When I set up Tayburn in 1979, the aim was to be as good as Graphic Partners. That was the company we tried to emulate."

"Graham was very creative, and we regarded him as a serious rival. He was also a charming gentleman who listened to others - which in our world is quite rare. Companies come and go, and to run a business so successfully for so many years is an amazing tribute to him."

Graham was actively involved at board level with Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, and keen to promote the visual arts within the Edinburgh Festival.

Outside the business world, his passion was rowing. A member of St Andrew Boat Club, he practised two or three nights a week and every Sunday, and had been a regular competitor at the World Masters regattas for more than 20 years. He continued to train and compete despite having a quintuple heart bypass operation nine years ago.

His daughter Claire said: "He made a very quick recovery - he was back at work just six weeks after his operation and competed in a rowing competition in Seville the following year.

"As a person, he was a very calm, determined and humorous man, always very fair and level-headed."

Graham died suddenly on December 2, aged 65. His funeral was held at Warriston Cemetery on Monday morning and hundreds of people attended a memorial service, held at Mansfield Traquair Church in the afternoon.

He is survived by wife Ros and his two children, Bruce and Claire.

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