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Alan Kitching: The Manchester Guardian – DM16 06 Oct

We’re pleased to be partnering up with Design Manchester for the third year running, presenting an exhibition of Alan Kitching’s work. Alan Kitching ‘The Manchester Guardian’ looks back at some of his best work for the newspaper over a period of fourteen years, all displayed in our Manchester window exhibition space.

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Alan Kitching’s relationship with The Guardian, the UK’s leading liberal newspaper, began in the 1990s and continues to this day. He has made artwork for most sections of the paper and its website, now the second most read English-language newspaper site in the world (after the Daily Mail). Kitching’s big rough-edged woodletters work well on newsprint; his colours sing loud in the glossy sections; online, his blocks of type grab the eye in an instant.

Kitching and The Guardian were neighbours, too. The newspaper’s Farringdon Road offices were just a short stroll from The Typography Workshop in Clerkenwell Close. While visiting The Guardian Kitching was struck by the large expanse of bare wall in the reception area, and saw it as the idea place for a typographic mural. Creative director Mark Porter and editor Alan Rusbridger thought it a good idea, and the latter suggested Kitching use words from The Manchester Guardian’s original 1821 manifesto, which set forth the principles of the newspaper.

Kitching chose words and phrases from the document that would remind journalists (and other visitors) daily of the newspaper’s early intention to give ‘matured and unbiased judgment’ and to ‘boldly expose public delinquencies.’

Though Kitching rarely expresses political opinions in public, his sympathy for the paper’s stance is evident in his work. Whether the content is a business survey, a sensitive human interest story or a sharply worded political critique, Kitching’s letterpress ‘illustrations’ invariably hit the right note, giving life to the layout without departing from the meaning of the article presented. While Kitching’s passionate bursts of colour imply that ‘comment is free’, his robust woodletter capitals declare that ‘facts are sacred’.

As part of the exhibition exclusive products will be on sale in the shop and on our website.

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Credit: John L Walters, author of ‘Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress’.

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