Talking the talk for the Wynkyn de Worde Society

The Wynkyn de Worde Society is ‘dedicated to excellence in all forms of printing’ and each year it asks one of its members to be its Honorary Designer and create the booking form for its forthcoming events. Alistair Hall of We Made This took on the role in 2015. As he completes his final project, we look back over the great work he’s produced to date

Founded in 1957, the Wynkyn de Worde Society is “a rather fantastic organisation which gets together regularly to eat, drink, talk about design and printing, and drink some more,” write We Made This on a recent post about their creative director Alistair Hall’s work for the organisation.

“The membership is made up of talented and frankly fascinating folk from right across the graphic arts spectrum – printers, graphic designers, calligraphers, publishers, typographers – all sorts.”

Throughout the year, the Society holds a series of lunchtime and evening events and one of the Honorary Designer’s roles is to create the booking leaflets for those events, as well as some keepsakes for members to take away.

In March, Daniel Mason gave a talk about his work researching, developing and manufacturing facsimile record sleeves for Joy Division. Hall created a Factory Records-style booking form and a memento for the event, having found a copy of the original image which Peter Saville used to create the cover art for the band’s Unknown Pleasures album.

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Famously, the illustration comes from The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy and represents successive pulses from CP1919, the first ever discovered pulsar. More recently, Jen Christiansen, art director of information graphics at Scientific American did a bit of detective work and found out that the image was originally created by Harold Craft for his PhD thesis.

Hall wanted to make a leaflet for Mason’s talk that referenced that source material and, after a bit of searching, found a old copy of the Encyclopaedia for sale on AbeBooks. He scanned the page, vectorised the image and created a Factory-style form which was then printed by FE Burman onto Colorplan Pristine White.

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For the keepsake for the talk, Hall reunited the illustration with its original caption, resetting the type using Elsner+Flake’s Modern Extended so that it was sharp enough to be foil blocked.

CP-1919

Hall worked with Benwells and Mason to create the finished piece, which used a holographic foil on Colorplan Ebony Black, all set at the same size as the original. The holographic foil picks up the light brilliantly against the black card.

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In July the Society held its annual Members’ Garden Party and for this event Hall created a botanic pattern based on a Gunnera leaf. The leaflet was printed onto Colorplan Pistachio with a leaf-like embossed texture.

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A couple of months later in September, Professor Lawrence Zeegen gave a talk about the history of Ladybird Books.

Hall designed a leaflet that matched the exact size of the Ladybird books and reworked type from one of the original publications to create a text page inside (see image top of post).

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For the keepsake for the talk, Hall worked with Paul Haslam (this year’s chair of the society and director at Benwells) to source 100 original Ladybird books. Each of the books was then foil-blocked by Benwells with the details of the event (one shown, below).

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Later this month, Nick Newman will be giving a talk about The Wipers Times, the newspaper written, printed and published by British soldiers in the trenches in the First World War. For this event, Hall carefully replicated the typographic style of the newspaper for the booking leaflet (printed onto Colorplan Stone).

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Hall also reworked some text from the newspaper, making it specific to the event, and with Matt Mackenzie at Paekakariki Press also recreated a letterpress printed edition of the newspaper.

Finally, for the WDWS Christmas party, which will be held at the Garrick Club, Hall created a leaflet that resembles an old theatre ‘playbill’, playing with some of the lyrics from the Deck the Halls Christmas carol.

And with Hall’s tenet as Honorary Designer soon coming to an end, it seems fitting to conclude with some images of the Members’ Handbook that he also created (details here).

If you’re interested in joining the Wynkyn de Worde Society, visit wynkyndeworde.co.uk.

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This post is an edited version of an article originally published on the We Made This blog. See wemadethis.co.uk

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