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Wynkyn de Worde Society

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Wynkyn de Worde Society

Founded in 1957, the Wynkyn de Worde Society is ‘dedicated to excellence in all forms of printing’. Each year they ask a different member to be their honorary designer, and Alistair took on that role in 1025. The society holds a series of lunchtime and evening talks across the year, so we created a set of booking forms to advertise the talks and events, as well as a series of keepsakes for members to have at the end of each talk.

Daniel Mason gave a brilliant talk about his work researching, developing and manufacturing facsimile record sleeves for Joy Division. Unknown Pleasures was Joy Division’s debut album, and it featured Peter Saville’s iconic sleeve design. Famously, the illustration used on the cover came 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.) We did a bit of digging around and found a copy of the Encyclopaedia for sale on AbeBooks. A few days later we had the book open on page 111, and there was the original image.


We scanned the page, vectorised the image, and reset the type from the caption (using Elsner+Flake’s Modern Extended). We then used the illustration for the booking form for the talk: a minimal Factory style form, based on the Unknown Pleasures album artwork.


For the keepsake, we worked with Benwells and Mason to create a monolithic black card, using a holographic foil for the illustration and text, all set at the same size as the original. The foil picks up the light brilliantly against the black.


Designer Lawrence Zeegen gave a brilliant talk about the history of Ladybird Books. For that we created a leaflet that matched the exact size of the Ladybird books, and reworked type from one of the original books to create the copy inside it.


For the keepsakes, we bought up a whole batch of old Ladybird books, and foil-blocked each one with the Society’s logomark, and the date and title of the talk.


Author and illustrator Nick Newman gave a talk about The Wipers Times, a newspaper written, printed and published by British soldiers in the trenches in the First World War. We carefully replicated the typographic style of the newspaper for the booking form for the event, and reworked some text from the newspaper too, making it relevant to the event. We also worked with Paekakariki Press to recreate a letterpress printed edition of the newspaper – read the full story of that here.


The Christmas party was held at the Garrick Club, so we created a leaflet that looked like an old theatre playbill, centred on the lyrics from the ‘Deck the Halls’ Christmas carol.


We also created the Members’ Handbook for the Society – read about that over here.