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‘B’ Adams of Rye, Anthony Burrill

Unique exhibition designed by School of Art staff and alumna

16 April 2018

Letterspace celebrates letterform in everyday spaces

A recent graduate from Manchester School of Art has been involved in the creation of a unique alphabet that celebrates letterform in everyday spaces and raises the issue of diversity in graphic design, all whilst raising money for charity.

Letterspace is founded and curated by designer and educator, Lucy Biggs, Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Art, and has been created by 26 international designers, including Marian Bantjes, Tony Brook, Anthony Burrill, Oded Ezer and Paula Scher.

The designers have created the inaugural Letterspace alphabet, informed by each of their own spaces throughout the UK, North America, Europe and the Middle East.

The inclusive breadth of designers involved in the project spans those of international and national significance, to those more local to Manchester and the North West, including three recent graduates.

Passion

Lucy Biggs began work on the project whilst on honeymoon in Copenhagen, 2016. Through quiet time to reflect on the future, the break enabled Lucy to devise a project that focused on the things she cares about the most.

She said: “Behind the project is my love of letterform, passion for education and a belief in diverse collaborative partnerships spanning different genders, countries and levels of experience.  

“As a student in 2005, the majority of professional graphic design practitioners that I was introduced to were white, British males and the general tone of the industry was of a stark hierarchy between graduates and industry.

“In planning the project it was important to me from the start to build a breadth of contributors not only equal in gender and background, but also spanning different levels of experience, from recent graduates to those of international significance.”

Almost 18 months on and Letterspace is live, presenting a diverse picture of the graphic design industry with the hope of inspiring young people along the way. The alphabet will also form the basis of a workshop day for 40 Key Stage 3 students from schools in the Manchester area, with the aim of inspiring the next generation to study art and design at a higher level.

Exhibition

Letterspace will be shown for the first time at a one-off exhibition at the Whitworth’s Thursday Lates programme on April 19. 

The letter designs will be made up of 26 posters to be auctioned at The Whitworth, with proceeds gifted to two charities, Mustard Tree in Manchester and Printed By Us in Sheffield. The remaining posters will be available to buy at The Whitworth event and online.

In addition, each of the 26 letters have been screen printed as a limited edition of 26 by Dan Mather Screenprint in London, with each designer selecting a bespoke ink and paper. This has been made possible by the support of Slater Harrison, in partnership with Debbie Wigglesworth of The Paper Collaborative.

Letterspace has also been supported by Manchester School of Art, Blush, Alphabet Brewing Company and Dalton Maag, who have gifted the use of their typeface, Effra, which is present throughout the Letterspace identity.

Find out more about letterspace on www.letterspace.co.uk.