A Life in Letterpress

Alan Kitching

Many working designers, whatever their field of practice, recognise the power, authenticity and formal beauty in Kitching’s work.

John L Walters

In a world of uniformity Alan Kitching’s work stands out. Maybe a little to his surprise, he has become rather fashionable and in demand. Not obsolete at all but utterly current.

Alan Rushbridger

I know no man more in his element. With a wizard’s mix of inks and fonts, Alan has produced unique posters and broadsheets, astonishing in their originality and freshness.

Derek Birdsall

The Book

Alan Kitching
Special Edition:
A Life in Letterpress

This edition will have a 3-piece binding.


Alan Kitching
Collector's Edition:
A Life in Letterpress

This is a limited edition of 200 copies only, which includes a hand printed letterpress signed print, numbered and wrapped round the book to form a jacket.


This long-awaited monograph documents the work of world-renowned typographer, designer and letterpress practitioner Alan Kitching. 

Spanning over fifty years, this lavish volume leads us from Kitching's first typographical experiments under the auspices of mentor Anthony Froshaug to his most iconic creations at The Typography Workshop. It covers his years designing alongside Derek Birdsall, as well as his time teaching letterpress at the Royal College of Art, and showcases his most colourful and expressive pieces, including his prolific work for The Guardian. Kitching's work hangs in private collections and galleries but it has also featured on everything from magazine and book covers, postage stamps and theatre posters, to wine labels, billboards and signage.

Author: John L. Walters
Art director: Simon Esterson
Designer: Jon Kielty
Photographers: John Bodkin and Philip Sayer
Publisher: Laurence King

The Exhibition


Alan Kitching is one of the world’s foremost practitioners of letterpress typographic design and printmaking. He is renowned for his expressive use of wood and metal letterforms in creating visuals for commissions and limited edition prints. He lives and works at The Typography Workshop in Kennington, south London, which he shared with designer, writer and partner Celia Stothard (deceased 2010).

This landmark exhibition showcases not only show finished pieces of work but reveals the method and process behind key works with sketches, proofs and roughs gathered from Alan’s own archive. The 100 framed original work are accompanied by objects, artefacts and equipment from Alan’s workshops that will enlighten visitors to the inspiration and motivation behind the work.


2016–17 UK tour

21 April – 2 May 2016
Pick me Up, Somerset House, London

3 June – 20 August 2016
The Lettering Arts Centre, Snape, Suffolk

12 – 21 October 2016
Design Manchester 16, Manchester School of Art and Fred Aldous

9 December 2016 – 5 March 2017
The Lighthouse, Glasgow

Copyright Helen Cathcart / Be-Bolder.com


A big thank you to our exhibition sponsors













A to Z of London

Alan Kitching's
A to Z of London

A boxed limited edition.

Launching at the London Art Fair 2019.

Alan Kitching, the maestro of the letterpress, has spent most of his professional life in London, exploring and enjoying its iconic landmarks as well as its more obscure nooks and crannies. This personal project is a subjective A to Z of his favourite haunts in the Capital. The limited-edition lexicon of London marries the individual letters of the alphabet with many historic locations, contemporary buildings, national monuments, sports grounds, hotels and eponymous retailers that contribute to the fabric of this great city. Available as a boxed set of 26 letters with a personal introduction and glossary, there are just 25 impressions. Alan Kitching’s A to Z of London will be formally launched at the London Art Fair in January 2019.

The London Art Fair is at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH from 16–20 January 2019.

Photography by Emma Lewis

A Collectors Item

A Collectors Item

With type founts from his immense collection, Alan has used letters that in some cases appear to depict the relevant location and at other times the composition of the letter itself resonates with its sense of place. The project, in collaboration with Karoline Newman, has taken nearly two years from inception to its completion. It was inspired by William Nicholson’s 'Alphabet' and 'London Types', first printed from intricate woodcuts in the 19th century.

Alan Kitching’s A to Z of London starts with the Arcelor Mittal Orbit & Slide, the iconic sculpture designed by Anish Kapoor that dominated the skyline at the London 2012 Olympics. There are witty compositions for the letters ‘O’ for The Oval and ‘W’ for Wembley; the rejuvenated Docklands is complemented by a meandering ‘T’ for Thames. Contemporary London is represented by ‘S’ for Shard and ‘Q’ for the Queen Elizabeth line, whilst ‘F’ for Festival Hall, ‘L’ for Leicester Square and ‘P’ for Piccadilly celebrate enduring places of popular entertainment, contrasting with the solemnity of ‘C’ for Cenotaph. The alphabet is presented in a bespoke crimson box and each imprint of this limited edition is signed and numbered.

The A to Z came about through a conversation with Karoline Newman who happened to have one of the original Nicholson “London Types” prints. I suggested we could do a modern day version. It was utterly enjoyable from the start – making lists of places in London that we both liked, more importantly, places and landmarks I could make a typographic ‘illustration’ for. Needless to say the list(s) grew long and there were a couple of places that I designed but then discarded for a better alternative. Another aspect of the design was the choosing and mixing the printing inks to achieve the appropriate colour, which then attempted to enhance the concept of each individual letter and place. And the final edited selection that was printed at the studio in Kennington captures for me the spirit of London at this time.
– Alan Kitching


Printed letterpress from types and material held exclusively at The Typography Workshop.

Printed in an edition of twenty-five copies on Somerset Satin 300gsm paper, signed and numbered by the artist.

260 x 285 mm

Paper supplied by John Purcell Paper and box made by W. MacCarthy & Sons Ltd.



The London Art Fair is at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH from 16–20 January 2019.

For further information or to enquire about Alan Kitching’s A-Z of London limited edition boxed set please contact:

Karoline Newman
Articulate Communication

Photography by Emma Lewis


Alan Kitching and Monotype collaborated to produce an exclusive set merchandise. Please get in touch with info@thetypographyworkshop.com for prices and availability.

Printer's Apron

A 100% cotton apron in slate gray, with fully adjustable neck and waist straps.  This limited run of 25 was designed and hand pressed by Alan Kitching for the Somerset House and the Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress Exhibition. The apron was produced in the UK by The Apron Company.



Cloth-bound hardback sketchbooks. The cover features foil blocking of Alan’s wood type. Bound and hand finished in the UK.


Postcard book

A 26-page postcard book, one for every letter, features wood letters from Alan Kitching’s studio.


For any information about the future exhibitions or tour enquiries please contact Daniel Chehade 


For any press enquiries please contact Karoline Newman