Week 1 Overview

What I did

  • Looked at the history of Doves Press
  • Joe Pochodzaj’s video lecture and ethics of community projects (same link)
  • Thought about workshops and how to include them in my project
  • Presented my project for the first time to the group (below)

What I want to do in the future

  • Contact local groups
  • Research typography projects
  • Organise my thoughts in a post-it wall


My first webinar presentation!

[Slide 1]

You might recognise Stowe Framework from last. It was my authorial artefact and I want to take my plan and bring it to life.

[Slide 2]

It aims to engage the community of Walthamstow, North East London in typeface design by running workshops and publishing a book of the community’s experiences.

I want to honour the past, such as William Morris, and safeguard visual history whilst reflecting the current diverse population.

There are a number of ethical considerations I have started to address, and I have a flatmate who is well-versed in safe-guarding issues whom I will consult.

[Slide 3]

The project will be structured by running workshops to explore how typography is used in the Walthamstow area and how typography can shape how we view our space. 

I will take the outcomes from exercises and design body and display typefaces for use by the community (and for commercial licensing).

[Slide 4]

I will publish a book written by the community, set at a local letterpress studio. It showcases the typefaces and whole project with photographs taken at the workshops (people’s permissions pending). 

[Slide 5]

The publication will be available for sale in local book shops, online, and the income from the book will help fund the project.

[Slide 6]

There will be a website containing resources, details on the project and a tool where people can  see all the glyphs designed.

Alongside the project I will design a framework so that it can be to transferred to other communities.

In the coming weeks I am going to build partnerships will the council and local arts charities to get funding and support as soon as possible.

Overall, I think the presentation went well, despite doing it at the climbing wall! It’s fantastic to be able to build something on top of a previous module. The project will all depend on how well I integrate with the local community and build connections.


Week 1: Workshop Ideas

My flatmate is the co-founder of Knots Arts, a non-for-profit that runs arts programmes for children and people with autistic spectrum condition. She is uniquely positioned to help me create sessions that will engage with people. Here are my thoughts of what I need to consider before my meeting with her.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Area Survey

Participants walk around Walthamstow and are given a set of tasks. For example, take a picture of a shop sign, of a non-latin alphabet, of a way-finding sign. They are asked to mark down where they saw them. They are asked to pick one or two other examples of typography they see that interest them. They are given a toolbox of words to help describe the typeface and why they have chosen it. They submit their images and where they walked.

For each category (i.e. shop sign) participants pick the ones we like the most and why we like them – use sticky dots

Covid-19/ethics safe

  • Groups are 5 or less (6 including guide) led by DBS facilitator
  • Participants download worksheets and do this on their own or small groups
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Glyph generation

From the photos they took on the above exercise, or others, they start to identify shapes and patterns they can use to draw a glyph. On worksheets they create a single glyph which is saved and add to the bank

Covid-19/ethics safe

  • Groups are 5 or less (6 including guide) led by DBS facilitator in a public Covid-safe space
  • Participants download worksheets and do this on their own or small groups at home
Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Discussions about typography

Participants can learn more about typography and the history of Walthamstow to inform them about local history

  • Groups are 5 or less (6 including guide) led by DBS facilitator in a public Covid-safe space
  • Participants watch online talks filmed for the project
Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on Pexels.com

For Kids – 5 years +

Physical activity using type – how does this type make you feel? Is it spiky, scary, safe, soft, fun?

What does Walthamstow mean to you? (or a more kid-friendly question)

What do you see a lot of around Walthamstow?

Can you daw a letter that reminds you of Walthamstow?


How do I gather data that will be Covid safe and fit tech-savvy people and people less-so?

Week 1: Ethical Considerations 1

My flatmate is the co-founder of Knots Arts, a non-for-profit that runs arts programmes for children and people with autistic spectrum condition. She is uniquely positioned to help me bake in safety from the start. Here are my thoughts of what I need to consider before my meeting with her.


This project is being started in 2020 and given the prime minister’s announcement last night I have to assume that everything will have to take place in a socially distanced manner or remotely.

I could do this:

  • Online (ie Zoom). Probably only suitable for adult participants
  • Packs with exercises for adults to do independently
  • Packs with exercises for parents and families with prepaid postage to send back/email address accepting scans
  • Packs as above suitable for teachers and tutors at schools or colleges


I would like to involve under-18s in this project, which it falls under medium risk and means that I need to seek the informed consent of their parent, carer or guardian.

I could either run workshops through schools and colleges or through direct participation with families. The carers need to know that the information being gathered is suitable and that they can withdraw at any point.

I need to check if I need a DBS check if I aim to engage with under-18s indirectly through the use of a facilitator


Before I run workshops I need a clear idea of how their information is being used and why I am asking it.

Data Storage

To store people’s information and consent I need to be able to store this safely. I’m not sure how to do this yet. I also need to be able to pinpoint people’s information and contributions if they choose to withdraw and delete everything related to them.


I’d like to be able to record the project throughout, and so I need to get people’s permission to do this at the start.


  • Eden Girls’ School Waltham Forest – Academy
  • Connaught School for Girls – Academy
  • Walthamstow School for Girls – Maintained school
  • Walthamstow Academy – Academy
  • Norlington School and 6th Form – Academy
  • Holy Family Catholic School – Maintained school
  • George Mitchell School – Maintained school
  • Willowfield School – Maintained school
  • Lammas School and Sixth Form – Maintained school
  • Chingford Foundation School – Academy
  • Frederick Bremer School – Maintained school
  • Buxton School – Maintained school
  • Highams Park School – Academy
  • Heathcote School & Science College – Maintained school
  • Leytonstone School – Maintained school
  • South Chingford Foundation School – Academy
  • Kelmscott School – Maintained school
  • Belmont Park School – Special school
  • Normanhurst School – Independent school
  • George Mitchell School – Academy
  • Joseph Clarke School – Special school
  • Lime Academy Hornbeam – Special school
  • Whitefield Schools – Special school
  • Lantern of Knowledge Secondary School – Independent school
  • Big Creative Independent School – Independent school
  • Lammas School and Sixth Form – Academy
  • Forest School – Independent school

Colleges & Sixth form

  • Waltham Forest College – Diplomas in Art and Design
  • Highams Park School – Academy
  • Walthamstow Academy – Academy
  • Chingford Foundation School – Academy
  • Holy Family Catholic School – Maintained school
  • South Chingford Foundation School – Academy
  • Sir George Monoux College – College
  • Leyton Sixth Form College – College
  • Heathcote School & Science College – Maintained school
  • Forest School – Independent school
  • Lammas School and Sixth Form – Maintained school
  • Norlington School and 6th Form – Academy

Week 1: Process

My starting point is the Stowe Framework that I created for my Authorial Artefact for GDE730. Here is the PDF that I handed in:

It was inspired by several things. First, Cymru Sans, a project we encountered in GDE720, that was designed for the Welsh Tourism board.

I went around my area to capture hundreds of pieces of typography: not just of the highly designed examples but historic ghost signs and casual signs in shop windows.

A following project we did for that module taught me to draw on my strengths as a typographer by designing a type piece for Walthamstow, that took inspiration from the many languages spoken in Waltham Forest.

For the Studio and Entrepreneurship module, I had a small idea that I wrote on a post-it note:

I originally wanted to use this as a project to build a business plan on, but thought that it could be a much stronger authorial artefact submission.

That’s where I’m starting from. This week the course asks me to think about:

  • What is your research question?
  • How might I…?
  • Who is this for?

Let’s go back to basics.

What is your research question?

I devised this project to delve into how people in my area see, discover and interpret the typography all around them and to build together a new typeface that shows our combined experiences in the area. It extends to showcase the typeface with a publication of writings from people about the area. From there, I can package a framework that I can sell to companies and communities in other locations.

How might I … ?

Find out about people’s views on typography?

Last module I conducted a survey for people about their view on typography and it was a good start but I could go deeper. My best bet would be to run workshops, either online or in person.

Engage them in a discussion about typography?

See below …

Get them creating their own glyphs?

I think these three questions can be answered by running workshops with structured exercises. One could be to ask them to bring along examples of typography that they like about in the area and use it to draw a new glyph that I take in.

Who is IT for?

Narrowly, people in Walthamstow. Widely, everyone in Walthamstow. I want to engage people from different cultures, religious, backgrounds and ages in this project. There will be no right or wrong. The Black Lives Matter movement has shown us that we need to make the effort to encourage and enable everyone to see that design and publishing is for them. There are initiatives to involve people into workplaces, and I aim to encourage design discussion in a more grassroots way.

Typography is everywhere. As a visual species, we interact with typography constantly and we should be able to contribute to its design so that it suits the communities that it serves. By engaging the people of Walthamstow from school age to retired I can communicate with a wide range of people.


The goals for this project are community-based: 

  • Engage the community in typeface design
  • Run workshops for people to create glyphs
    of a typeface together
  • Facilitate conversations about how typography can shape how we view our space
  • Foster communications between community and creative spaces
  • Safeguard visual history
  • Showcase the community’s experiences in a piece of written work.
  • Explore how typography is used in the Walthamstow area


  • Latin-script body typeface and display typeface, based on workshops, for use by the community
  • Publication of writings on the local area, set at a local letterpress studios
  •  Online tool where people can select display characters from the workshops to write “Walthamstow” and share online
  • Framework to transfer to other communities
  • Website that collates the project and framework.


The project will take place in Walthamstow, East London, and its borough has one of the most diverse populations in the country, with 48% from a minority ethnic background. 

The graphs show that the borough has a much younger population than other London boroughs and the rest of England and Wales, and that a wide range of languages, other than English, are spoken.

Resources I want to tap

  • Cassie Yates – Drama and Arts Facilitator: Meeting arrange for coming Wednesday evening
  • Type Archive
  • Paekakariki Press: Visit arranged for 3rd October
  • Artillery Arts – Local Arts company: Emailed them to ask for advice
  • St Bride’s Foundation: emailed Becky Chilcott to reach out
  • Dalton Maag

Week 1: Literature Review


I started with Lecture 4 (Rediscovering a Lost Typeface) as it caught my attention first! I do remember this story when it broke and was fascinated by the work that Robert Green did. Mudlarking has always been popular along the Thames because of the riches to be found there, but to search for such small pieces was a work of love/madness! He acknowledged his luck that either side of Hammersmith Bridge has a rocky bed rather than silty one further down.

The Thames has always been a dumping site for all of London, and I’ve heard stories of type being thrown by the case into the river once new technologies came along. Then, it was old-fashioned clutter and now it is a sought-after and valuable piece of heritage.

The most fascinating part for me was the division of the typeface after the acrimonious split between Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker. In a deal negotiated by a mutual contact, it was agreed that C-S could use the typeface for setting the Doves Press publications, and on his death ownership would pass to Emery Walker. However, C-S, despite his socialist politics, decided he did not want to comply with the agreement and gradually threw the typeface bit by bit into the Thames.

Green’s efforts to digitise the typeface is amazing, but I am more interested in the original – because it is linked with William Morris, who was a resident of Walthamstow, where I live. It was inspired by Venetian printers Nicolas Jensen and Jacobus Rubeus, which also formed the inspiration for William Morris’s Golden Type. Walker had assisted Morris at Kelmscott Press in previous years.

Both Morris and Walker were inspired by the same source, but had different interpretations, as we can see above. Morris’s Golden Type had heavier strokes that exaggerated inkiness and gothic details. This fitted his medievalist text and his connection to the pre-Raphaelites such as Rossetti and Burne-Jones.

Doves Type, on the other hand, was constructed by Emery Walker under Cobden Sanderson’s influence and he believed that Golden Type was too sensuous and that a typeface should not distract the reader from the text itself. C-S wanted the typeface to be an interpretation of the historical influence but “a type for its time” in the early twentieth century. Doves Type is therefore “lean, elegant, subdued” in comparison to its Arts and Crafts relative.

That one influence can inspire different outcomes inspires me: Morris loved reaching into the past and his design for a typeface clearly suits and reflects that. C-S was typesetting for his readers and felt a different approach was necessary to suit his audience whilst still echoing the past. I want to explore this further: how can I pay tribute to the past of Walthamstow whilst representing its modern multi-culturalism. This is more important to me than harking back to the past.

Above we have two layouts: one from Doves Press and the other from Kelmscott, each using their own typeface. C-S oversaw the typesetting for this edition of Hamlet, which has a sparse page with white space and all around. He uses paragraph breaks, leading and line spacing effectively to help the reader, with red type indicating stage directions and headings. Morris, in contrast, filled the page with illustration and decorative letters in similar ratio margins and chose tightly-leaded caps in a justified block with leaves marking paragraph breaks. He also uses red ink to draw emphasis, but the overall effect is very dense and less easy to read. As much as I love Morris’s work, I prefer C-S’s approach to putting the audience’s reading needs over decoration.

I’m going through the lectures in an odd order as to what interests me at the time. Tonight I decided to watch Joseph Pochodzaj’s lecture as he was a tutor for the first module and I was fascinated by his approach to community engagement and psychogeography, a topic that also interests me.

The main points I took away from this is to put research out there to get critical feedback and to help propel the project. I think this is really important as often in community project the main goal is not the end result but the process.

New Perspectives: A Celebration at Balfron

It’s also left me questioning what will my community be left with? I need to make sure I give back when asking for people’s time and efforts to help me with my project. I want to avoid a project like the one above that Pochodzaj thought looked good but didn’t give anything back to the community. How useful will a typeface be for a community. Will they be interested? I talked to my flatmate about how I can do this and will reveal soon.

Pochodzaj made a point to capture research and participation as you go as that can provide valuable insight into how the project is received and be an end in itself.

The next lecture I watched was the Research-Led Report with Bec Worth and Chris Lacey from the Theorised Lecture series as I thought that it would follow the same vein as the Pochodzaj’s lecture above.

Listening to their experience of conducting a Workers’ Enquiry I was struck by how little had changed from Marx’s 101 Questions in 1880. I’ve also been reading Useful Work versus Useless Toil by William Morris – whom I mentioned above as a socialist – and it is remarkable how much resonates with today’s society. For example:

“we all know that they [rich people] consume a great deal while they produce nothing … they have to be kept at the expense pf those who do work, just as paupers have, and are a mere burden on the community” (page 5)

Our right-wing governemnt has banned an education on any subject that discusses alternatives to capitalism :

“Economist and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said: “Imagine an educational system that banned schools from enlisting into their curricula teaching resources dedicated to the writings of British writers like William Morris, Iris Murdoch, Thomas Paine even. Well, you don’t have to. Boris Johnson’s government has just instructed schools to do exactly that.” ” (Busby, 2020)

For me, this makes it more important to deconstruct what I know about type and use my community to build a project that shows the everyday reality of type in the wild. I really liked Werker magazine’s 365 Days of Work calendar that showed photos of people in their workplace to show the reality of their jobs.

Werker Collective

What would a similar study done now show? People working on beds, or trying to entertain children whilst on a work call? The BBC asked people to send photos in:

Soo Kim from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-52675825

I feel like the selection of images is highly edited and overall shows people enjoying the change of landscape. What would a larger proportion of these images show, and what would happen if the survey was opened up to people of all backgrounds, not just those who read the centre-right media?

Worth and Lacey made the very good point that you should conduct extensive research on what is already out there so as to not repeat exact studies and to use it as a jumping point from which you can extend the research. A study could also show the gaps of previous research, and also how time has affected the results.

The long lead time between data collection and publication can have a substantial effect on how the research is viewed. How quickly will this information go out of date, how can that be mitigated? I’d like to play with data being represented live, with workshop results being published as soon as possible, with people able to share without a filter as much as possible. I need to look at how to do this.

I really want to take my project out of what type should be and focus on how it could represent the people living in Walthamstow. To borrow a phrase from a project I looked at last term, I want to display Vernacular Typography!

Week 1: Original Idea

When I applied for this course, my original idea was to create graphic props intended for the imagined filming of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series. The books are set across a border between a country similar to ours in roughly the early twentieth century and a country full of magic and mystery. I felt the scope of graphic material and opportunity for creativity was immense and wanted to be the Arts Department for a production of the series.

Original Proposal

Several years ago I visited the Harry Potter World in Watford and was disappointed. The sets and exhibition were fantastic, but I didn’t realise until that point that what I most wanted to see, and what made the Harry Potter films real for me were the printed props created by Studio Mina Lima (Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina). At the time, the graphic props were featured in small cabinets along a corridor to the canteen and I felt disappointed that they weren’t featured more prominently. Subsequently, Mina Lima have opened a shop-cum-gallery in London of their work on the Harry Potter universe and further work and this sparked my interest in graphic design in films. At the D&AD Festival last year, I attended talks by Mina Lima and the lead graphic designer for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, Erica Dorn, about how they created the universes of their respective films.

The exposure to this part of the industry made me think about, if I was in the position to work in this way, which works would I choose and what would I create for a screen version? Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom trilogy has always held me in thrall, particularly its magical props and books. I have started to gather references and information about the objects with this intention.

As a background, the series takes place in a universe similar to ours, with one world (Ancelstierre) set approximately ninety years ago with comparable technology and it borders another world, “The Old Kingdom”, where magic and chaos rule and where technology from Ancelstierre (including paper) degrades upon crossing the border.

The project would take in a few strands in that I would research how graphic designers such as Mina Lima fit into the film production universe and the changes that have occurred within the role over the past years. This would be done through interviews  and archives. I would then research the process through which the designers created the graphic props that were used in the film they were working on, from original inspiration to the physical techniques, such as calligraphy, typesetting, bookbinding. Using this research I would go on to develop my own process and create select graphic design props as if I had been commissioned.

I have already identified several props that could be created for the project. I could narrow it down or broaden them if appropriate.

  • Almanac 1 containing information about tides, weather, sun and moon rises, constellations and religious festivals and calendar for the main characters with annotations of owners past. I would use Anglo-Saxon and medieval almanacs as inspiration for this and bind it in an imaginative way. It has been well used and so would be battered, stained and dog-eared.
  • Almanac 2 is a reissue of Almanac 1, created in the books years later on a letterpress printing press with the annotations of the past owners typeset and included in the new printing. The new owner has it new and takes good care of it, using it only for reference in his study
  • Perimeter Sign & soldier’s identifying tags: The border between the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre is heavily guarded and several signs are in place along the border. Ancelstierre is roughly based around 1920’s and so I would draw on British military history for designs for both the signs and disintegrating soldier’s dog tags
  • The main character has an Old Kingdom passport, written on handmade paper using purple ink. I would look at passports from the early twentieth century around the world and how they display personal information
  • Ancelstierran propaganda and government-issued documents. The story is driven by an influx of refugees from a distant continent and how the populist government aims to get rid of its responsibility to the refugees by sending them to their (unknowing) death in The Old Kingdom. For this I would look into government-driven displacement programmes and the published information to refugees and the propaganda intended to rile the general population to intolerance. I think I should be able to find enough evidence of that in human history!

The projects would be broadly split into those drawing inspiration from the medieval period for The Old Kingdom and those from modern history for the Ancelstierrian props. There is little to no movement over the border between the countries and suspicion of the other lingers in both societies, so there would be very little in the way of design influence and borrowing, which I would have to mind in the design process.

The final project would be presented as a written section including the research in the early stages and a presentation of the created props alongside the process behind each one. This would give me the experience of researching into design history and theory, an overview into the industry of film graphic design, and challenge me to use physical techniques to create my designs.


I started to gather resources from all over, including old manuscripts from exhibitions.

Now, having undertaken the four taught modules, I want to change direction. The project above I could do myself as a hobby and could be very solitary. I want to do a project that is engaged with the local community and take the chance to really, really push myself!

GDE730: Redux

I’ve struggled with this module and to pin down the essentials of who I am and what I want to do. I went back to Week 1 to better articulate that because it’s up to me to show the world how to define me.

Using my wardrobes as a backdrop, I’m going to plan out projects so that I can see things ahead of me before I write them down. Three doors = three briefs. Expect those post-its to be a-fluttering in the breeze!

I’m going to go re-do a lot of work, because I’m not happy with where I started from and what I turned out.

Week 1: Outcome

I struggled with the task because I hate defining myself. I can have specific knowledge, but overall I am a generalist and have a wide range of interests and knowledge. Narrowing down has never suited me and I like to have options in my life so I can remain flexible in my life. Maybe that is now doing me a disservice.

I came back to this to craft it again, and to narrow it down. I used the following sentence starts to get my ideas flowing.

  • My practice is about …
  • I am interest in …
  • I do this by …
  • I think about …
  • I question …

I drafted my response on paper and got this mess!

Coming back to the original statement I do like some parts, so I have woven it in.

Human’s instinct for language unites us, with multitudes of tongues crafts that pass from one generation to another. It flows and changes like a river through people, expressing who they are. My practice is about communication through language’s written form, type.

I question how language can be reassembled by the use of new technologies such as Mixed Reality and old craft to reach new audiences and provide insight for overlooked people in society. I present a multi-faceted practice that performs across disciplines to explore the commonalities that drive us forward and thread together a cohesive response.

Through the use of type, I seek to create work in a multitude of formats through the collaboration of visual and written language. I function as both a standalone practice and within your teams to unite your values with your audience’s experience.

Week 1: Studio and Entrepreneurship

The Challenge

How do you translate your perceived design ethos and positioning to your defined audience?

Revisit the geotagging workshop challenge from Week 2 of the Contemporary Practice module, and explore different studio philosophies through their about button and company statement.

Write an ‘about’ paragraph – an elevator pitch on either your current positioning or one you would like to establish. You may choose to take a speculative approach and envision your global dominance as a design studio superpower. Or as a more humble sole trader who works in a freelance capacity. Have your values changed since beginning the course? Is there a strategic approach your company would communicate to potential commissioners or clients?

Please consider the following in your approach:

  • What is the idea?
  • How does it work?
  • Why does it work?

Geotagging Challenge from Contemporary Practice

The blog post can be found here, and I am going to recap my work below with updates throughout as I rediscover these practices..

Design Practices

Dalton Maag

Address: 9th Floor, Blue Star House, 234–240 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SP
Website: daltonmaag.com
Sector: Type design studio
Office presence: London, São Paulo
Company statement: “We are an independent type design studio. Behind Dalton Maag is an international team of 40 type designers, font developers, creative directors, software engineers and support staff, spanning 20 nationalities and speaking 12 languages. With an agile team structure and workflow, we can reliably handle custom font projects that are both sizeable and complex, in collaboration with global brands and against tight deadlines.”
Own thoughts: The number of employees has consistently been around 40 people for a number of years, with growing numbers in finance and operations, which make up about 15% of the headcount. That seems, to me, a relatively small company given the huge projects that they take on for multi-national companies. They are very involved with education work, which appeals to me, as they open up their industry to new designers from different backgrounds.

In September 2019 I went to a talk they held in partnership with D&AD about the work they are doing on variable typefaces and Mixed Reality to keep the industry fresh and current and always accessible to everyday people.

Interesting work: Lush Handwritten typeface, Nokia Pure typeface

Faber Futures

Address: 12–16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham, London SE15 4QL
Website: faberfutures.com
Sector: Biodesign futures agency
Office presence: London
Company statement: “Faber Futures is a biodesign futures agency integrating design thinking with biotechnology. We believe that answers to some of the biggest challenges facing this planet can be found in nature. By learning from living systems and integrating design, biology and technology, our mission is to generate holistic models for sustainable futures.”

Own thoughts: A little gem hiding in a collab-working space in Peckham! This such an interesting cross-disciplinary company that I’ve covered later in the module because I love the way they are working with scientists to create new technologies to ecological problems.

Since I looked at their website last, I have found more information about the company – either they have expanded or chose not to share this much before. The founder & CEO of the agency, NATSAI AUDREY CHIEZA, is joined by four other members of staff who appear to be employees and their roles are multidisciplinary across design, science and strategy.

Interesting work: Colour Coded – a bacterial pigment extract to be used to dye textiles using less water


Address: 9–10 Charlotte Mews, London W1T 4EF
Website: jellylondon.com
Sector: Production company & artist management agency
Office presence: New York, London
Company statement: “We are an award-winning production company & artist management agency… [for production services] With studios in London and New York, we are able to play time difference to our advantage – our small experienced team will respond quickly, wherever you are. Our services include: Illustration, 3D / CGI, Animation, Character, Type. [for artist management] We curate a selection of global artists, designers, and animation directors producing work for clients around the world. No matter your brief, we’re confident our talented Artists & Directors will be able to deliver truly brilliant creative work. We believe in supporting creators starting out their careers and with our expertise at spotting and nurturing new talent – we represent the very best new talent in the industry.”

Own thoughts: I love the concept behind the Game of Thrones tapestry, partly as a marketing project, and as a way to bring old creative technologies. It’s a great use of jacquard loom weaving because it fits with the fantastical theme of the show and links back to the Bayeux Tapestry. The story is literally weaved into is own fabric, with Northern Irish embroiderers adding details by hand.

They have also created their own production studio to work on their own projects and to work with the artists that they represent, giving everyone more specialised skills and more creative control. By championing up-and-coming designers they invest in the future of their company and the industry as a whole.

Interesting work: Game of Thrones tapestry and stained glass windows


Alan Kitching

Address: 19 Cleaver St, London SE11 4DP
Website: thetypographyworkshop.com
Sector: Practitioner of letterpress typographic design and printmaking
Office presence:  London
Company statement: “In 1973 Alan began his own design practice in London with Colin Forbes. In 1977 he partnered with Derek Birdsall and Martin Lee at Omnific and started letterpress printing there in 1985. He began letterpress workshops in 1986 at Omnific Studios, Islington, London. He then went on to establish The Typography Workshop in Clerkenwell (1989). From 1994 he worked in partnership with designer/writer Celia Stothard (later his wife). In 1999, in partnership with designer and teacher, Celia Stothard FRSA, Kitching purchased a large collection of theatrical wood types, now named, ‘Entertaining Types’ and housed in Kennington, Lambeth, South London.”
SOURCE: Wikipedia
The Philosophy

The resurgence of Letterpress over the last few decades has triggered a passionate respect for the craft of Typography & has reinforced its position in the visual arts. Letterpress has evolved as a natural ally to the graphic arts & identified itself as an exciting process to express ideas & an extraordinarily thorough process to examine language & typography.

As an antidote to the immediate & often dispensable nature of modern technology, the slow articulation of the technical side of Letterpress allows the designer to immerse themselves in the focus of the craft & revel in the simple joys of making.

There are very few letterpress facilities remaining in the British Isles & even fewer experts to instruct. Conceived & directed by leading typographic practitioner Kelvyn Smith & letterpress maestro Alan Kitching: The New Typography Workshop is a new – hands-on – school of design & typography with letterpress at its core. It offers art directors, artists, designers, printmakers & students the opportunity to study typography & work closely with wood letter & metal type, letterpress materials & printing equipment.

Interesting read: Interview on It’s Nice That

Own thoughts: I’m not sure you can get a more iconic modern-day typographer: Kitching perfectly bridges the gap between typography and art. I’m used to typesetting for mono books, and to see his use of bright colour to really shout the type’s message is refreshing for me! He runs workshops that I would really love to go to one day.

Interesting work: Royal Mail Millennium Stamps, The Guardian front cover

Design Resources

The Type Archive

Address: 100 Hackford Road, London SW9 0QU
Website: typearchive.org
Sector: Letterpress archive
Office presence: London
Company statement: “The Type Archive is home to the art of printed words. We hold an amazing collection of letterpress fonts in metal and wood which celebrates the joy of printing: the craft that has served as the fundamental basis of modern civilisation and graphic design. […] While modern type foundries are entirely digital (Monotype.com) the Type Archive’s collection spans the nearly 600 year period when the foundry cut letters in steel, drove them into brass blanks, and cast lead type from them in molten lead.”

Own thoughts: After the transition to desktop-publishing, I’ve heard stories about how cases of type were disposed of because they weren’t needed and companies could not longer see a use of keeping them. Now, with letterpress making a resurgence, some people are kicking themselves for putting a case of Johnston in the skip! This archive is vital in retaining the centuries of technology used to make type and educating designers (like me!) how movable type was made and why we typeset today in the way that we do.

Considering my practice

Starting the MA has meant dismantling the walls I’ve built around myself and putting them under my feet to raise my skills and my practice. The aim of completing the course has always been to build firm foundations, to work and discover areas of graphic design that I’ve never worked on and didn’t know how to start. Studying graphic design also means working on the chip on my shoulder: having segued into the industry I’ve always felt behind not being knowing the references and practices others seemed to.

I have the talent, now I need the confidence to show and market myself with honesty and integrity. It’s important to me that I don’t use overly complicated verbose language to describe myself, or hide behind words: sometimes on this course I’ve seen words that can obscure the meaning in order to sound more official and has ended in confusion! None of that please.

How do others present their statement?


We are a creative agency in NYC specializing in branding & advertising. We work with clients starting from the initial brand strategy phase to the design, art direction and final production of a project. We believe in creating beautiful, emotion-driven work that functions for our client’s goals and resonates with their audiences.

One of our core missions is using our skills as creatives to start dialogues and create change. Our studio spends a significant amount of our time on self-initiated projects for social causes that are important to us. We’ve created events, books, exhibitions, and entire organizations for these social initiatives.

Craig Oldham

Working across numerous disciplines, the studio creates brands, books, websites, films, exhibitions, and objects. We also teach, write, curate and consult. And we do this for clients, audiences, and sometimes just for the joy of it.

We are a young and intentionally small team of creative problem solvers, makers and doers. And with extensive industry experience, we’ve learnt that the better the relationship we have with a client, the better the work will be.


Wieden+Kennedy is an independent, global creative company. We’re here to do the best work of our lives with inspiring clients. We make work that influences culture and builds business value. Our global network comprises eight offices and 1400 people, and our work spans every discipline. We have world class media, design and tech operations. But everyone and everything at W+K is driven by creativity, and a core mission of building strong and provocative relationships between companies and their customers. 

Sam Winston

Sam Winston’s practice is concerned with language not only as a carrier of messages but also as a visual form in and of itself. Initially known for his typography and artist’s books he employs a variety of different approaches including drawing, performance and poetry.

Operating at the intersections of where visual culture and literature meet he has exhibited his work in museums and galleries around the world. […] All Winston’s projects look to introduce audiences to new ways of thinking about and engaging with language.


At the moment I want to move forward, and realistically that will happen when this course concludes – there seems to be little point creating an official statement for where I am now, rather I will consider my current position and use that to work out where I want to go.

Working as a typesetter/artworker means that there is a constant demand for my services in such a way there hasn’t been time to grow my skills in my role to progress on. Whilst this means that I have a secure role in a company that I love and respect, I could be doing this exact role until I retire and to push myself, I need to move on.

This course has shown me that typography is my strong suit, and what I enjoy working on the most. I’ve gone to courses on letterpress and to variable typefaces. I don’t see typography going away because the written word, whether it is on screen or paper or a new technology will always be part of what it means to be human. There are chances for it to be improved and made more accessible as emergent technologies such as Mixed Reality become more commonplace, whilst knowing the history so as not to reinvent the wheel.

So, the statement is going to be a near-future speculation: something I want to aim for and to give me focus. I want to get involved in Mixed Reality, typography, and arts and culture, like theatre and accessibility to culture.

Here is my statement and video, in this post.

Week 1: History Revealed


  • Discover and analyse a selection of contemporary and historical letterforms that define the identity of your location.
  • Research and document the typography in your location and upload them onto the GeoType Wall.
  • Distil and edit your letterforms down to five examples you think best define the identity of your location.
  • Deliver a short written description to contextualise and communicate your research into how type design reflects the identity of your location.
  • Collaborate through group discussions on the Ideas Wall.

I live in an area of London called Walthamstow, located to the northeast of the city, and moved here around six months ago from Peckham, southeast London. The first module, Contemporary Practice, really allowed me to explore the area and history when I first moved, but since then the workload has meant I haven’t integrated into the community as much as I would like. Walthamstow is extremely multi-cultural and in 2019 was the London Borough of Culture, which meant that the area had much investment poured into it. Hopefully, that will continue, as Walthamstow has an interesting history and its multi-cultural citizens’ fascinating stories.

Discover and analyse a selection of contemporary and historical letterforms that define the identity of your location.

Over the weekend I went on a long walk, wandering around the streets. I did have an idea of where I could go, but made sure that I really looked everywhere I went. Here is a map of the images I collected:


Here’s the link for the full collection of images I gathered.

Research and document the typography in your location and upload them onto the GeoType Wall.


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Ghost Signs

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Neon & Illuminated

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History & Heritage

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Distil and edit your letterforms down to five examples you think best define the identity of your location.


“Heart of Awesomestow”


Heart of Awesomestow is a piece of artwork by local artist Chris Bracey. He continued his father’s business, illuminating Soho and creating for films. Now, his work focuses on commissions, moving with neon’s reputation from Soho alley to high art.

Mixed typefaces and colours embody the melting pot of Walthamstow. There are serif and sans serif; high and low contrast strokeS; rounded ends and slab serif.

This is placed within the Mall, a shopping centre that is a huge contrast to the locally-run shops on the High Street. The homogenisation of Walthamstow echoes the upward move of neon from seedy to high art.


Chris Bracey also created the artwork to the right “Welcome to the Home of People who Make and Create” outside Blackhorse Road Tube station. This is my local tube that I commute from each day, and it is uplifting to see as a new person in the area. Whilst being stressed about managing life, work and this course, this artwork always uplifts me and reminds me why I am doing it!


Here’s the image again so that you can see my analysis after the history lesson! Typographically, there is a lot going on. Multiple styles of typeface, many colours and animated illumination embody that the area is a melting pot of people, ideas and cultures. No one letter of Awesomestow is the same. There are serif fonts with subtle serifs, with slab serifs, with high contrast strokes, with lower contrast strokes; sans serif fonts with equal strokes, with rounded ends. Italic, roman, bold? It’s all a mix that reflects the community of Walthamstow.

This is placed within the Mall, a shopping centre with the standard high street stores you can find anywhere in Britain, a huge contrast to the locally-run multicultural shops on the High Street. The homogenisation of even a small corner of Walthamstow echoes the upward move of neon from seedy to high art in the past century.


“Millbridge Motor and Cycle Works”

Located just off St James Street, the sign is carefully positioned down on the side of this building to draw customers down the side street. I can’t find any record of this company anywhere, and neither can other archivists, which is a shame! However, the positioning and typography and that the sign still remains are interesting enough.

This sign is at the eastern end of the High Street, near where, in 1870, the Great Eastern Railway opened a station at St James Street. As a result, this end of the High Street developed into a bustling shopping centre where people could shop more locally to their homes and lives.

A few years ago, this end of the high street has had a huge amount of investment poured in. By the end of 2017, £2.9 million was spent on shop fronts, historic building restoration and environmental improvements. Whilst the efforts of historic restoration and environmental improvements are commendable, the money spent on shop fronts has not been met with ridicule.

IMG_20200126_104150The shop fronts now use muted colours with business names displayed in a fine-line all-capital serif font. It’s quite the change from the typographic mishmash at the eastern end of the high street.

Owen Hatherley has been critical of the changes made at the St James’ Street end of the high street, saying that although it is good to have funding for the area, the step to unify the shop signage is an “anally retentive mistake, driven by a total misunderstanding of what makes London interesting”. I have to agree: although the shops would have looked uniform, since four years ago, other businesses have moved in and not kept with the new aesthetic, spoiling the unnecessary original vision.


Going back to the ghost sign, I have traced over the photo to create a sense of the typeface. The first and third lines are much taller, and span the full width of the painted display. They are the same height, with the kerning and horizontal width of the third line condensed to allow for all the letters. The second line is shorter and has a wider kerning to take up more space with fewer letters. The lines could have been the same height, however, this would have meant the hierarchy would be confused and nothing would have stood out. The difference in height shows that it is a thought-out advertisement rather than a “slapping” of paint on the wall!

This is a very interesting report using the archives housed at Vestry House Museum.


“This Way Please”

The main transport system takes people into the economic and commercial centre of Walthamstow, with visitor attractions such as the William Morris and Town Hall further away.

When Waltham Forest was the Borough of Culture in 2019, wayfinding signs such as this were painted on walls to help visitors navigate. They are high up on walls and very visible as Hoe Street twists and turns to reveal them.

The grey type is outline in black to enhance visibility, and uses icons of a walking man and arrow as designed by Margaret Calvert to emphasise their use as wayfinding signs.


“Mall Monster”

An interesting contrast to the neon image. The Mall monster referred to here is the Mall mentioned above, which wants to expand its operations, which would mean cutting down lines of mature trees marking the way to the station. The Mall serves the community, but its large shops profit from it without the same return to the community that the independent local shops along the High Street do. The development would include homes which are unlikely to be affordable for most of Walthamstow’s citizens.

A grassroots campaign started in summer 2018, and this is an unofficial poster following the campaign. Designed a desktop publishing programme, the designer has used a bright yellow background to draw attention, with black-outlined text in Arial. The black ink has separated, the blue component streaks across the yellow, despite the weather-proofing lamination. The designer knows how to draw attention, using caps and increased kerning to emphasise HELP and TREES, though not so much about padding in a box.

We might lament the ability for everyone to create typography with desktop publishing, however, it enables people’s voices and dissent to be heard against powerful lobbies. And that is always worthwhile.


Food for Everyone

Walthamstow is very multicultural and the High Street is lined with shops with cuisines from around the world. Many people are Muslim and eat Halal food, and shops advertise that they sell products adhering to this cultural practice.

This sign is an example of the bilingual stickers in English and Arabic found in windows and positioned away from notices so that it stands out to passersby.

Deliver a short written description to contextualise and communicate your research into how type design reflects the identity of your location.

Walthamstow is a beautiful mishmash of people and cultures, and the typography I’ve picked shows this: from wayfinding to a museum about William Morris’s pioneering designs to neon art commissioned by a shopping centre to the signs made by locals to campaign and advertise.

Collaborate through group discussions on the Ideas Wall.

Week 1: Critical Reflective Journal


Phillips, P (2004) Creating the perfect design brief: how to manage design for strategic advantage (New York: Allworth Press)

  • Chapter 1: What is a design brief anyway? (Pages 1 – 15)
  • Chapter 3: Essential elements of the design brief. (Pages 28 – 48)
  • Chapter 11: An example of a design brief. (Pages 133 – 141)



Notes and images

Weird and wonderful

This week I went to a talk at the Westminster Reference Library about searching for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the universe. Led by Peter Doel of UCL, he explained how the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), a 5000 optical fibre multi-object spectrometer mounted on the Mayall telescope, was built and how it will expand our knowledge of how the universe hangs together. On my way out, I spotted some installations by Lizzie Brewer that caught my eye because they use metal type:

There was also a labyrinth constructed out of metal type that I can’t find an online image of, so I need to go back! I thought it could represent difficulties in navigating language and speech.

Week 1: Brief Analysis

Weekly Learning Objectives

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Research and discover your personal interests, identity and experiences.
  • Distill your research into your personal interests, identity and experiences to define one subject that can be developed into a self-initiated project.
  • Communicate and deliver a clear project brief to outline the aim, critical context, outcome and designated target audience for your self initiated project.

Research the outputs you generated during the Contemporary Practice module to identify four subjects that encapsulate your personal interests, identity and experiences.


  1. There is a rising awareness that the model for diagnosing autism is very centred around how autism presents itself in males. Females, on the other hand, are less likely to be diagnosed because they tend to be able to “socially camouflage” and disguise social insecurities to a greater extent than males with autism.
  2. I am fascinated by maps and how they can both show and shape a local area. Walthamstow Wetlands have been used in many different ways over the centuries, and using maps I would create a visual depiction of how they have been used by and changed the community.
  3. Kris Miller raised the interesting idea of workplace mentorship on the ideas wall (see image right). For the past couple of years, I’ve been working on a scheme that connects people within the same company to share skills and learn about each others’ roles, with the aim of educating everyone in the business about the essential work each of us does. It’s designed to be small-scale, time-efficient and budget-friendly, and also builds up relationships between colleagues in different departments. This is the document circulating at my work now: Inter-Peer Training. This project would bring in people for trial sessions and workshops and set up the project running, with expansion to other companies.
  4. How can the printing process be made more eco-friendly? A break-down of the constituent parts of the large-scale printing process and experimentation new methods and materials.

Communicate and deliver a clear project brief to outline the aim, critical context, outcome and designated target audience for your self initiated project.

My housemate, Cassie, co-founded and runs Knots Arts, a not-for-profit for young people with autism, whose aim is to “create inclusive, friendly and fun sessions were children and young people feel safe and supported to develop their communication skills and build friendships. By meeting others who understand the challenges that social communication difficulties can bring, children are able to work together to embrace their differences and overcome any obstacles that they may present.” Knots runs youth clubs, drama sessions and holiday programmes for these young people, and my intention is to go along to their Saturday Youth Group that caters for 13 to 25-year-olds.

There is a rising awareness that the model for diagnosing autism is very centred around how autism presents itself in males. Females, on the other hand, are less likely to be diagnosed because they tend to be able to “socially camouflage” and disguise social insecurities to a greater extent than males with autism. Initially, I wanted to explore how females diagnosed with autism viewed the world and how they feel they respond to social situations, not verbally, but with non-verbal cues and body language, which some people with autism can have difficulty interpreting. How do they feel they echo people around them in order to ‘camouflage’?

After talking to Cassie, however, my view has changed as people with autism don’t always see genders and the separations between them. Gender is now widely accepted as a social construct, and for people who don’t understand or engage with social systems, such as people with autism, the labels are, at best, irrelevant. Additionally, a large number of people with autism identify as transgender, or non-binary. It, therefore, seems illogical to impose gender as a boundary of this project.

As an alternative, I will look into how people with autism as a whole and how they communicate with each other and with wider society, with a focus on non-verbal cues. Work, such as It’s Raining Cats and Dogs by Michael Barton, has already been published on the difficulties of understanding idioms and figurative language as a person with autism. How do the people in the youth club view non-verbal cues, and what do they wish others would verbalise in order to signpost the conversation?

Cassie also mentioned that graphic symbols can be confusing for people with autism. They may have learnt that these signs denote male and female toilets, for example:

This, however, might be confusing, because it references (stereotypical) social ideas about how binary genders differ:

Bathroom Doors At Restaurant In Germany

The final outcome will be informed by my first session at Youth Club. I hope that I will be able to expand it into Brief 2 by talking to the people at Youth Club about how museum exhibitions can be more inclusive and accessible for them, including layout and wayfinding.

Visual references

I would like to play with: layers, obscuring, warped fonts, riso printing, metal type

Project Brief


Around 1 in 100 people in the UK, around 700,000 people, are estimated to be on the autistic spectrum (Brugha), and the condition has been coming to public sphere more and more over recent years: from the scare-mongering that vaccinations cause autism to the determination of climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who is “proud to be on the spectrum“.

Autism can present itself in many ways that science has also been playing catch-up, as previously it was believed that boys were more likely to have autism. It is now thought that the threshold for diagnosis is weighted towards males because females are more likely to socially mimic others with the result of camouflaging (albeit unknowingly) their symptoms.


At the point of writing, I haven’t set the final outcome because I’d like it to be formed by the people that I meet through the project.

Aim and Objective

People with autism view the world through a different lens than those without it, and communication can be confusing as people are navigating systems of which they are not intuitively aware. Forms of communication, such as non-verbal cues and way-finding, rely on the people involved having a shared understanding of gestures, figures of speech and symbols. This project will focus on the differences in how people with autism react to different forms of communication compared to neuro-typical people and between themselves. Part of this will involve my own impressions, and then I would like to give the young people a chance to contribute about how they feel when faced with confusing communication and how communication can be altered to make it more clear to them.


My primary audience will be the young people and their peers, to show their own voice in the world. On a wider scale, I would like my project to educate young neuro-typical people working and socialising with people with autism about the difficulties that people with autism can face with communication and how small adjustments can make people more comfortable.

Visual Direction

  • Typographic: although communication can be mostly non-verbal, I will attempt to verbalise them and experiment with distorting type to demonstrate
  • Riso: I would like to experiment with Riso printing as a way to produce layers and interaction between them.
  • Clear vs. cluttered: some people autism can become overwhelmed by visually and sonically busy environments. How can I convey this feeling to someone who is neuro-typical, but not overwhelm neuro-diverse viewers?
  • Facts vs. experience: autism is such a wide-ranging condition, so how can I present an outcome that reflects people accurately and emotionally?

Final Outcome


Phases will be broken down into weeks to match course schedule.

Week 1 – Project will be outlined and the background explored. Connection will be made with the youth group and research done into current depictions of autism.

Week 2 – I will visit the youth group on Saturday and talk to the young people there. I will involve myself with the activities and get to know the people: what are their interests, who are their friends? I will lead onto questions, what social cues do you find confusing; how do you find ways in order to socially integrate, how does your view on gender affect this? Ideas will be pulled together and a final outcome formed.

Week 3 –  Youth Group visit, for the second time. At this point I will have a definitive framework through which to generate content.

Week 4 – Youth Group visit, for the third time, where I will ask for feedback. Presentation and hand-in at the end of week 4.

Safe-guarding and data protection

The information entrusted to me will be kept confidential according to Knots Arts’ safe-guarding policy, and as I will not have time procure a DBS check, I will be accompanied by a Knots Arts staff member at all times.