Alan Kitching - A Life in Letterpress Exhibition, Glasgow

A Life in Letterpress

I do love good old-fashioned letterpress printing. It’s something that us designer types love to use now and again.

So last night I went along to the opening of the Alan Kitching exhibition at The Lighthouse in Glasgow – A Life in Letterpress. Even if you’re not a designer, at some point you’ll have come across his work. From postage stamps to whisky packaging, in his long career, Kitching’s work has adorned many things. But it’s his body of work for The Guardian newspaper for you may recognise his work more.

In what is now a very digital landscape, Kitching’s work stands out like a sore thumb – and what a beautiful sore thumb it is! The use of contrasting font sizes and bold typography, along with the bright colours, verges on art rather than design. Kitching seen letterpress as an ‘obsolete technology’ in which to push creative boundaries in typography to dramatic effect, and passed this on to designers we all know including Henrik Kubel, Jonathan Barnbrook and Anthony Burrill.

“I was never interested in printing, the first thing I’d say when I came into the studio in the morning was ‘I’m not interested in letterpress printing, I’m interested in what you can do with this stuff.’ All this obsolete technology, what can we do new with it now.”

I managed to briefly have a chat with the man himself at the exhibition about some of his work. All the time I was thinking I would have loved to have attended one of his classes as he’s a wealth of experience and knowledge.

If you’re in Glasgow or thinking of visiting, and looking for something to do, you have until the 5th of March to see this amazing body of work.