Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Jobs from the past - Number 47

Regular followers of this blog will know that my first post of every month is a "job from the past" so that I can show some of the really good work from years gone by and here's one from 1996.

4th Estate Catalogue
Aug 96-Feb 97
The Fourth Estate is a publishers that many people will be familiar with. Founded by Victoria Barnsley in 1984, Fourth Estate built a reputation as one of the most innovative and eclectic imprints in the industry, with a reputation for publishing a wide variety of critically-acclaimed and beautifully-produced titles including many prize winning authors (Booker, Orange etc).

One of the things that made the Fourth Estate stand out from the crowd was their catalogues - they were simply amazing pieces of design and print! I was lucky enough to work on a few different catalogues in the late 90's and early 2000's. Every single one was different and brilliant. Good designers were comissioned, Bogue & Hopgood, Instinct, Pentagram, Rose Design, Frost, Neville Brody, Tom Hingston to name a few. In line with their reputation for publishing unconventional yet innovative titles, the design of the catalogue was equally eclectic.

This is one of the most distinctive catalogues. Large format, printed in just one colour and printed letterpress!
The size is 310mm square, saddle stitched. It has a 4pp cover and a 44pp text and is printed on our Neptune Unique SoftWhite 250gsm and 120gsm (...which is still available from Fenner Paper seventeen years on!)
Design and art direction is by Vince Frost. The catalogue was set and letterpress printed by the House of Naylor on Saffron Hill in Clerkenwell. Body text set in the Gill family by Bill Naylor and Richard Rolfe on Monotype Keyboard. Cast on Monotype composition caster by Cyril Clements. Elements in wood and metal composed by Bill Naylor, Derek Reid, Richard Rolfe and Ian Barber. Printed on a Heidelberg SBB Cylinder press (1965) by George Hughes and Colin Ansell. Edited by Mark Reynolds.
Unfortunately I can't recall how many copies were produced - probably about 3,000 I would think. Each catalogue is "crash numbered" on the outside back cover. For those of you who aren't aware of this process, it is a letterpress process which uses a numbering box - it's an "impact" process which simply thumps the number on the sheet and then (in a clockwork style) clicks on one digit.
So, where is everybody now?....

Victoria Barnsley, founder of Fourth Estate, joined Harper Collins as CEO and Publisher in 2000 when it acquired her company. These distinctive publications continued to be commissioned and produced for a few years after becoming part of a larger group. Sadly (and I guess it was just a matter of time) the Fourth Estate became a section within the Harper Collins specialist catalogue.

The House of Naylor went into liquidation in the early 2000's re-emerging as The Letterpress House in Hemel Hempstead. Bill Naylor finally retired a couple of years ago and the machinery dispersed (all going to good homes).

Vince Frost left for the sunnier climate of Australia just over ten years ago and runs Frost* in Sydney.

...and Fenner Paper? Yep, we're still here!

Looking through my pristine copy, it still looks and feels fantastic.
Posted by Justin Hobson 03.09.2013

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Thanks for your comment! If I like it, I'll add it on. Cheers J