Presentation details
Writing & illuminating & lettering - & mechanisation

Richard Hollis

Friday 14 September | 13:15 – 14:00
Location: Sallis Benney Theatre

Keynote | Theme: | Duration: 45 minutes

The intention of this talk is to present Edward Johnston, even before his Underground lettering, as a modernist, and at the same time to take another look at his book, Writing & Illuminating, & Lettering.

Writing, Illuminating, Lettering. The three words making up the title of Edward Johnston’s book seem to belong to a distant past. This talk will look at what they might mean today – at least to a graphic designer – 100 years after the book first appeared. We have to see Johnston as part of the Arts and Crafts movement. His book was published, after all, in “The Artistic Crafts Series of Technical Handbooks”. The Arts and Crafts movement was a response to the methods of industrialisation and the debased aesthetic quality of its products. Its leaders and followers tried to find principles and values in the handwork of earlier times. As a scribe, writing with reed or quill pens, Johnson looks at first sight like a quaint eccentric, a refugee from a machine age. In fact if we look at the way he used mechanical processes we then recognise him as belonging very much to the 20th century, surprisingly as functionalist as members of the Modern movement between the two world wars.

The talk will go on to look at Johnston's improbable connections with a special aspect of modern typography.

The talk will go on to look at Johnston's improbable connections with a special aspect of modern typography.

Speaker details

Richard Hollis Graphic designer and writer | UK

Richard Hollis is a graphic designer and writer. Has worked as printer, art editor, production manager, teacher and lecturer. Studied art and typography at the Chelsea, Wimbledon and Central Schools of Art, London. From 1958 taught lithography and design at London College of Printing and Chelsea School of Art, before working in Paris in the early 1960s. From 1964 to 1967 Head of the Graphic Design Department at the West of England College of Art, Bristol, and for six years Senior Lecturer at the Central School of Art and Design. Art editor New Society weekly, 1966-68. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Eye, and Domus, and design work reproduced in Graphis, Novum Gebrauchsgraphik, Typographische Monatsblätter, etc. He has been the subject of interviews in the Journal of Design History and Eye. He designed and collaborated on John Berger's seminal Ways of Seeing (1972) and is the author of Graphic Design: A Concise History (Thames and Hudson, second edition 2002 and translated in five languages), and Swiss Graphic Design (Laurence King / Yale University Press, 2006) and as Schweizer Grafik (Birkhäuser). He was elected a Royal Designer for Industry on 2005.

[ All speakers | All presentations ]