Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress
A lavish, visual celebration of an extraordinary career A Life in Letterpress is a uniquely personal portrait of Alan Kitching's remarkable lifetime contribution to the design industry.
From his early discovery of a small adana printing press in his primary school classroom to running experimental printing workshops at Watford College of Technology in the 1960’s, ‘A Life in Letterpress’ documents an extraordinary journey.
The career of Alan Kitching has a trajectory all its own, with no antecedents and few pretenders to his throne.
Striking an intimate balance between Kitching ‘the man’ and Kitching the ‘designer’, A Life in Letterpress features an array of thoughtful personal photographs and large format colour prints showcasing Kitching’s breadth and understanding of type and letter-setting.
Embracing letter-setting as an apprentice compositor, and his rigorous and sustained deviations to push and interrogate its limits has led him to become a legendary icon.
Kitching’s practice is made special by his ability to wrest powerful pieces of communicative artwork from an industrial process whose original use has been superseded.
At a time when traditional craft techniques are at risk of disappearing altogether, it is affirming to hear Kitching’s story; a man who has defied the encroaching persistence of the digital age with committment and passion.
He savours the act of composition, the details of spacing and justifying metal type, the imaginative inking of huge wood letters.
Whether it be his ‘Broadside’ series of publications, exhibitions of letterpress design, typographic map-making, or commissioned works for publications such as The Guardian or Dazed and Confused, Waters presents Kitching’s complex mastery of the letterpress craft alongside the story behind such an acclaimed career.
Alan Kitching: A Life In Letterpress by John L. Waters is published by Laurence King. Limited Edition £75, Collector’s Edition £200.