William Allan Fetter

Born 1928 in Independence, MO, USA.
Died 2002 in Seattle, WA, USA.

“American graphic designer William A. Fetter … introduced the term computer graphics for the new computer based designing technique that he employed as supervisor with the Boeing Company in Wichita (Kansas, USA), and from which Computer Aided Design (CAD) was soon to be developed. CAD stands for the three dimensional shaping of architectural or physical forms with the assistance of the computer. The software of the drawing programmes was developed at the beginning of the 1960s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) and is used in construction development. (...)
Numerous drawings and films were produced with three-dimensional wire frame models of pilots, cockpits and aircraft. Although Fetter’s works could be classified as commercially applied art, they were on a high aesthetic standard and were awarded numerous art prizes.” [Herzogenrath et al., 2007]

1928 William Alan Fetter was born in Independence (Missouri, USA).

1950-52 designs various publications, exhibitions and posters for the press department of the University of Illinois, where he studied art and graphic design. His interest in using digital computers to solve graphic art problems was stimulated while working as an art director for Family Week in Chicago, where he redesigned the entire magazine. It was there that he began to conceive computer-aided “Dummies” with innumerable transformations.

1959 takes on a job as a supervisor at the Boeing Company in Wichita (Kansas). This happend before he completed the development of his “Dummies”.

1963 moves to Boeing in Seattle, Washington.
At the Boeing Company, he was head of the department of applied graphic design, and his achievements there gained him a reputation as one of the pioneers of computer graphics: he was the first to draw computer-aided, three-dimensional human figures and moving simulations (at the beginning of the 1960s).
Fetter used the computer to enable aeroplane desingers and engineers to visualise different human bodies and a pilot’s restricted vision in the cockpit during landing.
He thus contributed greatly to the development of the new Computer Aided Design (CAD), and together with his boss, Vernon Hudson, he coined the term “Computer Graphics” in 1960.
The essential difference between his work and contemporary Computer Art was the complete exclusion of chance. Fetter’s work laid the foundation for the subsequent development of computer-generated “Virtual Reality”.

1968 founds the Northwest chapter of E.A.T., together with LaMar Harrington.

2002 dies in July, in Seattle (WA, USA).