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.” With this simple arrangement of words one of the world’s legendary typemakers introduces himself in a short film that has a lot to offer to the audience. The film’s a behind-the-scenes look at Kitching’s studio and collection of physical type, presenting him working, creating a set of posters that pay tribute to the centenary of five hugely influential graphic designers.
Tom Eckersley, Paul Rand, FHK Henrion, Josef Müller-Brockmann and Abram Games are the project in this short film by the creator of hundreds of typeface alphabets who also happens to be the man with the largest collection of alphabets in Europe -an assortment he accumulated over the years. 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.
Kitching’s affinity for monograms is right there on the posters he created for a colorful tribute to each designer’s work
With one of the world’s leading typeface design companies by his side, the living legend of letterpress design 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. 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 Allan Kitching. Be more than certain that in the pre Photoshop era, good design was dominant. “Interpretation of an idea in a graphic way” was a must and for all of these masters who were born in 1914, color, text and shapes were their weaponry. “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 bang.” You are welcome to celebrate the Golden Age of poster design with a tribute unlike any other. “Alan Kitching and Monotype: Celebrating the centenary of five pioneers of the poster,” exhibition at the London College of Communication is on till the 16th of October.
By Loukas Karnis