Baddeley Brothers – an account by the Gentle Author
Printing is good. Books are good too. So a book about printing? Sign us up.
The book in question is an account of Baddeley Brothers, the specialist printers, by the Spitalfields Life's Gentle Author. It’s the second collaboration between the Gentle Author and our studio partner David Pearson, and features wonderful illustrations by Lucinda Rogers. It's a great subject and a fantastic creative team - so it’s no surprise that it’s a glorious book.
We nipped along to St Bride's yesterday afternoon for the launch (the perfect place for it, since much of the archive material featured in the book is held there).
The sumptuous cloth-bound book tells a story that reaches across four centuries, and is a real treasure trove. It features archive imagery from throughout the company's history, as well as a host of tipped-in samples, used as section dividers, illustrating the range of Baddeley Brothers’ print techniques. There’s also a fine glossary of printing terminology, and an anatomy of envelope design.
Lucinda Rogers’ illustrations document Baddeley Brothers as it is today, her wonderful and energetic line work brilliantly capturing the mood and atmosphere of printers.
David’s quiet and considered design gives the subject plenty of room to breathe; and the tipped-in dividers are just wonderful, all featuring Commercial Type typefaces.
We asked David about his experience of designing the book: “What I loved about it was that the Gentle Author has an uncanny ability to bring people with shared interests together on a project. Commercial Type have long been interested in the work of the Caslon Type Foundry, which was based right next to Baddeley Brothers. I've worked with Baddeley Brothers on several jobs, and have a strong relationship with Commercial Type too (many of whose typefaces are based on materials held at St Brides).”
There's a wonderful alchemy going on there, and it’s a rich mix that has produced a stunning result. We can just imagine the joy of some young graphic design student picking it up off the St Bride Printing Library shelves decades hence. No doubt Baddeleys will still be going strong.