Alan Kitching is a bit of a hero. A master of letterpress design and printing, he’s done some wonderful, iconic work for all kinds of clients and cultural institutions from the Guardian to the Royal Albert Hall. Now he’s done something for us.
Alan now works from the Typograpny Workshop, a delightful, eclectic studio in Kennington that he shares with Celia Stothard. Here he puts great sheets of paper through a hand press, scrunching it against big, blocky wooden type (he’s got a huge library of wooden type including collections from an old theatrical printers).
Here’s a quick biography from the London College of Communication: “Alan left school at 15 to become a printer’s apprentice compositor in his native Darlington. Following a subsequent successful career in conventional and corporate graphic design, he decided to return to his letterpress roots and established The Typography Workshop in Clerkenwell, London in 1989, creating visuals for publishing, advertising and limited edition prints.
In 1994 he was appointed Royal Designer for Industry and elected member of Alliance Graphique International. Alan is honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and Visiting Professor University of Arts, London.
He has had solo shows in London and Barcelona and contributed to various group exhibitions including the Pompidou Centre Paris, the British Library and the Barbican Art Gallery, London.”
Since first visiting Alan and Celia’s studio a few years back, we’ve wanted to commission a poster for our office wall. We were delighted when he agreed to take the project on.
Alan decided to simply take the word ‘Velocity’ and work with it — inking each letter separately and moving the sheet after each run through the press, then running it through again and again without re-inking. This gives a vibrant sense of movement as each letter leaves an increasingly faint shadow of itself. Each letter is inked individually in its own colour, with a few touches of its ‘opposite’ colour, taken from another letter.
We love it. It’s being framed now but stop in in a few weeks for a look.
By the way — Alan and Celia will be giving a talk on Saturday 7 March at 2pm at The London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6SB Tickets on the door: £5 (£3 students) including a glass of beer.