The influential graphic designer

Alan Peckolick, who overcame a failed art school career to emerge as a leading designer of some the world’s most distinctive logos, died on Aug. 3 in Danbury, Conn. He was 76.

The cause was brain damage sustained after a fall, his wife, Jessica Weber, said. He had Parkinson’s disease.

A protégé and partner of the influential graphic designer Herb Lubalin, whose acolytes also included the art director George Lois and the photographer Art Kane, Mr. Peckolick was a virtuoso man of letters.

His typography distinguished familiar logos, like GM’s (just the two initials underscored by a muscular solid bar), and the typefaces for company names, including Pfizer, Revlon and Mercedes-Benz, and institutions like New York University and the City College of New Yor

 A poster featuring blue block lettering and the word “free” in bright red announcing late-night museum openings in New York City, sponsored by Mobil, is in the permanent collection of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany.

“Basically, for me, if a word was a beautiful word, it wasn’t the sound of the word that intrigued me but the look of the word,” Mr. Peckolick (pronounced PECK-oh-lick) told The Huffington Post in 2015. “I saw each letterform as a piece of design. Cat is not ‘cat’ — it’s c-a-t. That’s what led to the beginning of the expressive topography.”

Seymour Chwast, a fellow designer and illustrator, said in an email that Mr. Peckolick “was totally dedicated to design, its history, its function and what it might offer in the future.”

Eventually fed up with being a rainmaker for the advertising agencies he worked for, diverting his creative his energies to courting clients, Mr. Peckolick took up painting. As an artist, he was captivated by weathered billboards and their faded evocations of a vanishing cityscape.

“Signage has been covered so often by photography that as a subject it is a commonplace,” Grace Glueck of The New York Times wrote in reviewing an exhibition of his work at a SoHo gallery in 2002, “but Mr. Peckolick, good at the colors and textures of erosion, nicely captures the sense of time past that gives these brief messages their nostalgic appeal.”

Alan Jay Peckolick was born on Oct. 3, 1940, in the Bronx to Charles Peckolick, a letter carrier (actual letters, not the kind his son would work with) and the former Belle Binenbaum.

“I never knew anything about design or graphics or any of those fancy words,” Mr. Peckolick recalled in 2015. “But I used to draw. I used to draw everything. When my mother used to send me out to get groceries, by the time I was back there were little drawings on the grocery bags.”

He graduated from Elmont Memorial High School on Long Island, just across the Queens border, after which, he said: “My mother put together a portfolio which was made of anything I drew on — handkerchiefs, scraps, whatever — and put it literally into a brown paper bag. She sent me out into the world to go to places like Cooper Union and the School of Visual Arts. Both schools, he said, “immediately saw there was no talent here, and they rejected me.”

Pratt Institute in Brooklyn accepted him, in the illustration department. But three months later, he was told to leave because his work was not improving. A schoolmate discovered him in a coffee shop, dejected

Mr. Peckolick graduated from Pratt in 1964 and opened his own office. In 1972 he joined Lubalin, Smith & Carnase (the firm later became Pushpin Lubalin Peckolick Associates). Through his mentor, Mr. Lubalin, Mr. Peckolick recalled, “I discovered other people like Saul Bass, Lou Dorfsman, George Lois — people who could think as well as design.”