‘Alan Kitching's A-Z of Letterpress’

Book Design

Book of 39 hand-printed letterpress alphabets using founts collected by internationally renowned graphic designer, Alan Kitching.

Graphic designer, typographer, letterpress printmaker and teacher, Alan Kitching is internationally renowned for his expressive use of letterpress type processes. His latest book, Alan Kitching's A-Z of Letterpress, showcases the extensive wood-letter fount collection of The Typography Workshop.

The book is a collaboration between Kitching and Pentagram partner Angus Hyland. In 2014, Hyland approached Kitching with the proposal of hand-setting letterpress alphabets to celebrate the Typographic Workshop’s 25th Anniversary. Together they devised a page layout and Kitching set the entire book, which is printed on letterpress and then reproduced at the same size.

The book contains 39 hand-printed letterpress alphabets, displayed letter by letter. The alphabets are from three sources, a collection of theatrical type from the Somerset village of Wrington – once home to G&M Organ, a company who printed posters up for circuses and pantomimes; a mid-century selection from an antique dealer called Rafferty, who turned up at Kitching's studio with the cases in his van; and a range once owned by Typographica magazine founder, Herbert Spencer.

Single pages of full alphabets, using Playbill, Tuscan, Victorian Roman and French Antique, separate the letters. The book also includes an introduction by John L Walters of Eye Magazine.

Hyland recently gave an advanced copy of Alan Kitching’s A-Z of Letterpress to fellow Pentagram partner, Paula Scher. He remembers her reaction as, “a book of loads of letterpress alphabets that you don’t have to read, what’s not to like?”

Angus Hyland
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