art & design

Alan Kitching | A Life In Letterpress

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Back at the end of 2016 I went to the Lighthouse in Glasgow to see an exhibit of Alan Kitching’s work. Alan Kitching is a typographic designer, he creates artwork by using a type of relief printing called letterpress. This is where you have a block of type (or in this particular case specific letterforms) and print them onto paper using ink. It’s actually really interesting to see his work up close because there are imperfections in it.


Printing as a whole is not an exact science and doesn’t always work the way you expect. I really like his work but I think part of that comes from it being a piece of art that was physically made rather than done on the computer. There is something about actually making a thing which makes it feel more real.

Seeing work like this is really inspiring. Over the last few years of my course, my work has become reliant on traditional art techniques. Working with physical media is an essential part of my design process. I’ve actually tried to do a few design projects which didn’t require and traditional work and it didn’t feel right because I was working directly on the computer.


I think in a time where it is so easy to just jump onto a computer. It’s nice to know that traditional art methods are still important and relevant. Working traditionally gives results which are almost impossible to create on the computer. Especially when it comes to creating textures. Which I have used a number of times during projects. For example I created a publication about David Bowie where all the art was made using sheets of ink textures. Which were collaged digitally to create pieces of art I could use within the book.

What I was doing with that project was similar to how Alan Kitching works with the letterpress machine. Honestly this exhibit has made me want to work more with type in my art practice.


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