Alan Kitching and Monotype on the art of 20th century poster design
“My name’s Alan Kitching, I’m a letterpress typographer, designer, artist, and I’ve been working in this business for most of my life” says one of the world’s legendary typemakers in the intro of a short film filled with design inspiration.
The film is literally a behind-the-scenes look at Kitching’s studio and collection of physical type. In it Kitching creates a set of posters that pay tribute to the centenary of five hugely influential graphic designers.
Still inspired by the beauty of type, still amazed by the power of the printed word, Kitching’s long life dedication to type as art is evident in the prints he created for his collaboration with Monotype.
With one of the world’s leading typeface design companies by his side, the living legend of letterpress design and the man with the largest collection of alphabets in Europe -an assortment he accumulated over the years- sheds new light on the revolutionary work of five of the world’s top poster designers.
Tom Eckersley, Paul Rand, FHK Henrion, Josef Müller-Brockmann and Abram Games brought modernist design to the world of typography from the 1940s on and elevated this medium to high art before technology made their methods obsolete. For all those masters in poster design, all born in 1914, color, text and shapes were their only weaponry to express their talent.
Kitching’s affinity for monograms is right there on the posters he created for a colorful tribute to each designer’s work the same way it was printed on their posters for society’s, then only way of communicating a message.
“There were no other means of getting your message out there then. It was just posters,” says Kitching of the pre digital era of design.
“There’s nothing between the message and the image. At a glance, you’ve got it. You didn’t need a lot of words. The image is the message” Kitching says.
“That’s what they were masters of: condensing down a problem to a single cool item with a bang.”