Watch master type designer Alan Kitching at work

The godfather of typography, letterpress printing and printmaking tells Clemency Burton-Hill about his life and the inspiration for his work.

Alan Kitching is one of the world’s leading typographers and printmakers; his work appears on magazine covers, newspapers and posters, in art galleries – and even on wine bottles.

In this video for BBC Designed, Clemency Burton-Hill visits Alan’s home and studio in south London to watch him at work at his old-fashioned letterpress printer, using wooden type that is hundreds of years old.

Kitching has transformed the use of these old letters to create exciting, bold and bright new designs, while using a very traditional and nearly extinct craft.

“I had to experiment and discover new things through this old medium,” Alan explains of his printing.

He finds inspiration everywhere, from politics and history to opera and chess. But often, Alan’s work begins with a simple line of poetry, from Keats perhaps, or Dylan Thomas.

“Taking a line of poetry and trying to express the meaning of the words, to reinforce the meaning of the words,” is how he describes it.

To find out more about Alan Kitching, and to see him create a print, click on the video above.

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