The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Alan Kitching: “I always try to have some logic to the job”



Related to my post earlier today, typographer Alan Kitching also talked to It’s Nice That this week about printing with letterpress, and a new monograph documenting his work:

Kitching started Omnific studio with Martin Lee and Derek Birdsall, who he had met through Anthony Froshaug, in the late 1970s. They worked from a studio in Covent Garden, then still surrounded by typesetters and other service people, until rents shot up and they moved out to a toy factory in Islington. By this time some foundries were starting to sell off their type, and Omnific bought up a press and installed it at their new studio: “All this type was selling off cheap, cheap-ish, and it was the last chance to get this stuff. So we bought it all and I continued printing there for around three years until I decided I wanted to leave. I didn’t really know what I was going to do but I wanted to buy the press and the type and go and print somewhere”, Kitching says. “I didn’t want to be a jobbing printer but I wanted to start out on my own. It was a very precarious thing to do because we were successful, well-established, and I was taking a backwards step, it was a bit of a leap in the dark.”


The new book, Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress, will be published Laurence King on April 7. A ‘Collectors Edition‘ of only 200 copies featuring a limited edition, numbered print by Kitching will also be available. Laurence King have produced four short teaser trailers for the book:

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