Binding of 'Crocodile Puddles' by Roger McGough, 1984

Robert Hadrill

Leather, plaster, board, paper.

The voice of the individual is expressed in the marks that are made to convey language, and that typography is the visual component that gives shape to language and enhances both meaning and the effectiveness of communication.

In this book the typography on the printed pages is hand-embellished with individual brush strokes. The mark of the designer is thus embedded within the text itself. The writer of the prose and the designer of the page become indivisibly linked as the joint authors of the work...

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RON KING

Bluebeard's Castle, 1972

Coloured paper,colour screen prints,foil, metal rods,cardboard folder, black plexiglass tray with a transparent lid.

‘The voice of the individual is expressed in the marks that are made to convey language, and that typography is the visual component that gives shape to language and enhances both meaning and the effectiveness of communication.

In this book the typography on the printed pages is hand-embellished with individual brush strokes. The mark of the designer is thus embedded within the text itself. The writer of the prose and the designer of the page become indivisibly linked as the joint authors of the work.

The unique quality that each copy of this book carries with it, however, is hard to replicate in digital publishing. Instead, several other features are made available to the author. The fragility and scarcity of an original or a limited edition is in stark contrast to the potential ubiquity of online publishing, which is both instantaneous and global, and the audience reach almost unlimited.

Lacking physical presence the publication itself may feel disturbingly transient, but with no physical constraints immediate detail is easily supplemented by a greater depth of information. Infinitely customisable, the publication is never 'complete', forever there to be reformatted, redistributed, and re-contextualised.

It is rather ironic, then, that the amount and depth of content publishable is compromised by our ability to absorb anything from the screen in anything more than small chunks, and the scale of an image is limited by the screen on which it is displayed.

Where once publishing was the preserve of an elite, with printing and distribution being prohibitively expensive, the accessibility of digital publishing now brings new notions of community and democracy. Allen Lane (whose gravestone is illustrated in ‘Portfolio Two’ in the Craft & Technology section) was the founder of Penguin books and a believer in literature being accessible to everyone. He would surely be astonished that writing now delivers the potential to enter into conversation with any reader. If typography is language given form, then digital media is language given life, as it introduces a dialogue that is open to anyone.’

Malcolm Garrett

With ‘Crocodile Puddles’ Hadrill aimed to generate a ‘happy juxtaposition of text and image’. It is a truly collaborative piece, combining award winning poet playwright, broadcaster and children’s author Robert McGough’s text with images made by Christian Hasucha and screen printed by John Cole Graphics.

Born in 1959 and a graduate of Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, Robert Hadrill is involved in all aspects of making and publishing, from the ‘one-off’ book to small editions. He formed the New Pyramid Press with the intention of producing limited edition artists’ books, and is a founder member of Book Works. www.bookworks.org.uk

 
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