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14 December 2022
Being a lettering artist was never my plan. That was something my Dad did. My teenage toe-dip into calligraphy was swiftly deemed both extremely boring and way too difficult. But after career-ing off for 20 years exploring most corners of graphic design, I find myself today firmly fixated on drawing letters for clients around the world. My talk is about this journey, what it is about letters that keeps me coming back and my obsession with seeking out new (yet familiar) forms within the 26 pre-defined set of shapes that constitute the lettering artist’s ‘blank canvas’.
11 May 2022
A look at the straight and not so straight forward output of Annet Stirling’s past decade, focusing on texture, pattern and words. Stone and dust, chisels and dummies, pencils and rubbers, lasers and illustrator, letters and spaces, reading and deciphering. Annet Stirling trained as a graphic designer in the Netherlands, studied lettering at the City and Guilds of London Art School with Berthold Wolpe, then worked for Richard Kindersley. She has been a letter designer and carver for 40 years, In 1988 she formed Incisive Letterwork with Brenda Berman, focusing on large-scale architectural inscriptions and ‘word sculpture’. They worked together for 20 years and had several solo exhibitions exploring the boundaries of legibility and abstraction in letterform. At her Amersham studio Annet Stirling makes exhibition pieces alongside headstones and commercial commissions, and her work is on buildings all over the country and Europe. She has co-curated two exhibitions at the Lettering Arts Centre, is treasurer of Letter Exchange and a member of the Buckinghamshire Craft Guild.
12 May 2021
Pat talks about the challenges of printing books by letterpress and specifically his most recent publication 2020 Vision – a collaboration with the Society of Wood Engravers featuring work by 20 of today’s best known engravers – which uses some 100 year old blocks. Pat also talks about growing up at the Whittington Press started by his Dad in the 70’s as well as some words on Anna Parker, the printer of 2020 Vision, who has to an extent, changed the way he works.
13 February 2019
Ivan Chermayeff was modernist royalty in the USA, son of a famous architect and teacher. He chose graphic design and had a successful 60 year partnership with Tom Geismar, his classmate from Yale, with work that included corporate identity, book design, posters, exhibitions and campaigns. Although he was born in London, Chermayeff’s work was never well known here. Classical in its restraint, his work, especially his private collages, have wit and humour. His posters are never overloaded with information, but catch the eye and stay in the memory.
17 December 2014
After teaching classical languages for 25 years, Yves Leterme decided to switch careers and become a freelance calligrapher and letter artist. After his introduction to lettering in 1991, he became hooked and followed in the way the winds blew him. From the beginning Yves developed a special interest in the so-called ‘gestural writing style’, a topic he now teaches worldwide. His first book, Thoughtful Gestures, addresses this contemporary style and features a theoretical approach of the matter as well as many examples. He talks about being a freelance calligrapher in Bruges, the very thin line between work and leisure and his latest projects such as the Litterae project.
17 March 2021
Lettering and sundials have a long association almost to when dials were first made – numerals, dedications and mottoes. Typographers, calligraphers and carvers have almost every skill needed to make fabulous sundials. In his talk, Ben hopes the illustrations show how sundials work and how simple it can be to make them.
17 February 2021
Tim is a calligrapher, lettering artist, teacher at Falmouth University and author of Shapes for Sounds.
16 December 2020
Philip talks about his sculptural work, mostly low relief carvings in stone. He illustrates the progress of his work from art school at City & Guilds to the present day, following themes and discussing successes and failures.
12 Febraury 2020
James talks about a kind of traditional lettering that was once everywhere: stone cutters used it for the names of important buildings and the monuments in graveyards, songwriters put them on pubs. These were ‘working’ because on signposts they told you clearly where you were and where you were going. Perhaps inevitably, the trades that used these letters went digital, and skills were lost that could and should have been kept alive. In my talk I show not only something of what we have lost but also splendid examples of what we can still save, and should do so while we can.
16 October 2019
Some calligraphy, a little letter carving, and even a tiny bit of typography, or thirty-five years of avoiding work. These three disciplines I think of as aspects of one thing, finding form for text. Calligraphy is of these by far the most subtle and expressive, since all elements are under the control of the designer, a greater latitude may be permitted to the forms of the letters than in stone, and the execution relies on the hand alone.
12 June 2019
‘I have always been curious about the expressive possibilities of lettering so I’ll be looking back at the varying ways in which I’ve had the chance to explore this approach to my work, and how it is now leading me into the world of illustration and printmaking.’ Pip Hall explores the relationships that accompany and enrich her work, especially through collaboration with writers and fellow makers. There are stories of carving in unusual places, of interaction with the public, and the answer to their one perennial question for letter carvers.
13 June 2018
Rachel and American lettering designer Michael Clark have been working in collaboration for five years to produce unique pieces of lettering: our ‘trans-Atlantic co-conspiracy’. Rachel talks about how this very creative and rewarding partnership started and shows the numerous pieces of work produced. How they were conceived, practical problems of working together across thousands of miles, the challenges of trying new styles and the rewards of working in collaboration with a like-minded friend and colleague.
14 March 2018
You want me to do some work for you – if it has to do with letters, I’m fine with it. So, yes – “As long as it’s about letters, it’s ok by me”. That might describe what Andrea Wunderlich’s favourite thing is. She is a calligrapher creating art pieces that are shown in Europe and worldwide. And she teaches. As a lettering artist, she designs logos and works in graphic design. She has a lot of fun developing huge wall calligraphies. Those can be free art pieces or sign painting.
21 February 2018
I try to put joy into every project I do. Designers have the ability (or responsibility) to produce work that is thoughtful, engaging, beautiful, playful, impactful, surprising, challenging, rewarding and meaningful. That’s a lot to ask, but it’s what makes it worthwhile – for the designer, the client and especially the audience. I want to show and talk about recent studio projects where I’ve tried to do this – and talk about the process, the pitfalls, and the rewards.
13 December 2017
A few days in Rome with Hazel Dolby in 2012 began a body of work commemorating people whose names are recorded but about whom we, and history, know virtually nothing. Our collaboration, in which we record, make and evaluate, has become for us a far wider exploration of themes of life, death and remembrance. This talk shows some of the source material Hazel and Sue saw, the work they made and describes the rationale behind what they have done and continue to do.
18 October 2017
With images from his own and others’ work, Alan shows the use of alphabets and type as a means of evoking the spirit of the letter and word.
10 May 2017
In this talk, Charles Gurrey will try to say what his approach is, as a sculptor, to working with text: “Taking stock of what I have done so far, perhaps I can see a common thread or purpose in my approach, not unrelated perhaps to my other areas of work with figuration and abstract work. The questions of the scale, material, form, and layout of lettering, all are completely integral for me, as are those of the purpose, context and siting of the commission. Also, I don’t like to repeat myself!”
12 April 2017
Peter Grundy AKA Grundini, grapples with modern messiness by designing simple, shared and accessible architectures of the future. In this talk, Peter will explain what this means by looking back at a career developing an iconographic visual language that draws more from the rules of type and letterforms than it does from traditional life drawing. He applies his distinctive visual signature to projects where creativity is paramount, taking information design and illustration into new areas such as campaigns and public space images.
14 December 2016
Edward Johnston almost single handedly revived the art of formal penmanship. His work, Writing and Illuminating, and Lettering, published in 1906 and in print ever since, created a new interest in calligraphy and a new school of excellent scribes. The life he breathed into this ancient craft and its continuing tradition even in today’s hi-tech world can be ascribed to his re-discovery of the influence of tools, materials and methods.
18 May 2016
Fading on walls across the world are the ghost signs of advertising past, still whispering the slogans of old. Once brightly coloured and promoting everything from Black Cat Cigarettes to Hovis Bread, these painted signs are now ‘ghosts’ of their former selves. Since 2006, Sam has been photographing and archiving these ghostsigns. He gives a brief history and shares the stories that these signs tell.
20 May 2015
Eleanor Crow, a senior cover designer at Faber & Faber, takes an overview of book cover lettering from across the firms eighty year history, using examples from its distinctive archive as well as more recent commissions.