has a face, it is probably that of Alan Kitching
Since 1961, when he
first moved to London from his
native Darlington to pursue a career in design and especially the design of posters, his
lifelong love, Alan
has seen the district of Clerkenwell gentrify even as his
own career has flourished.
The only thing betraying his
roots is a residual North East lilt in his
At the time, Clerkenwell
was in a period of decline following the Second World War.
However, it still clung to many of the trades that were most closely associated with the area, notably engineering, food production, publishing and printing.
The seeds of its later revival were already sown.
Although the area was rundown, Alan
still admits to feeling very excited by the prospect not only of working with like-minded designers, but also by the district itself.
And so he
came to witness at first hand the revival and gentrification of Clerkenwell
, which began in the 1980s.
is now defined by a new generation of architects and designers who have re-shaped the formerly derelict and decaying industrial buildings into dwellings, workshops, offices, bars and restaurants.
became renowned for his
expressive use of wood and metal letterforms, creating visuals for commissions and his
own limited edition prints.
created a series of A1 'Broadside' sheets, an occasional publication devoted to the typographic arts, in the exact same way.
was spreading the word - literally.
with the artwork Milliken commissioned for CDW
As a result he
was widely honoured by his
was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) and elected member of Alliance Graphique Internationale
(AGI) in 1994.
In 1998, Alan became a Fellow of the Royal College of Art and in 2001 he was a Visiting Professor at the London Institute (University of the Arts London).
In 1994, Alan met the designer and writer Celia Stothard, and they began collaborating on various projects (teaching workshops and purchasing letterpress materials).
continues to work with these materials to this day, insisting on authenticity.
and Celia launched The Typography Workshop Printroom and Studio, a joint venture in two south London workspaces, in September 2005.
It was here that Alan
and Celia continued to work together until her death in 2010.
celebrated her life in a book called Celia Sings, characterised by his unique artwork.
As well as commissions from a range of commercial and non-commercial organisations, Alan
has created illustrations for magazines and book covers.
work has also featured on postage stamps, theatre posters, shop windows, billboards, signage and a 30 x 15ft typographic mural for the Guardian Newspaper's
ALAN AND BECCY
Alan presents Milliken Studio Manager, Rebecca Ritchie, with 'Inspired.
has not only been around to witness the revival of Clerkenwell
, but also the renaissance in craft, artisanship and analogue design.
In an increasingly virtual world, Alan Kitching
is the real thing.
Shown above: 'Inspired.
Inspiring' by Alan Kitching
, commissioned by Milliken
for our 10th anniversary in Clerkenwell
Inspiration in Focus - Alan Kitching
Meaningful Design - British Design 1948 - 2012