1. Hurtwood rebrands!

    May 18, 2019 by Joanna Hilton

    This one’s about an owl, a flying horse, marble you can fold, a Surrey wood and the Fête des Lumières…

    Rebranding a creative business is never easy. Just ask our friends at Carter Wong Design, who held our hands, soothed our brows, and guided us through our first rebrand in a decade. Here’s how it all started…

    Founded as a specialist publisher in 1972 as Hurtwood Press, we’re named after The Hurtwood, a beautiful woodland in the Surrey Hills, close to where we began. Since then we’ve developed and evolved into one of the world’s leading producers of beautiful special edition and one-off books.

    Giving the best advice, choosing the best materials, selecting the best collaborators and creating the best books takes vision, objectivity and a degree of separation. We don’t publish – we know the best publishers. We don’t print – we choose the best printers. We’re not booksellers – we’re book experts. It was time to drop the press and for Hurtwood to go solo.

    If you’re going it alone it pays to look the part. We chose Pegasus as the basis for our new wordmark: partly because its creator Berthold Wolpe was a great friend of our founding father, and partly because it’s classic, calm, reassuring, honest and handsome too. The barn owl symbolises wisdom, foresight and beauty. Chris Wormell carved our new mascot as a woodblock illustration. We chose a barn owl as the latest in a long line of Hurtwood birds because we think she reflects our own personality – quietly confident, visionary, sage. She’s perching on our company start date – we like to think with a firm grip on the numbers but a strong eye on the horizon.

    Books would be impossible without letters, fonts and typefaces. Influential typographer Paul Barnes at Commercial Type guided us towards Lyon and Graphic – hardworking fonts of beauty and a strong reminder of our rich print heritage. Show me don’t tell me – committing our new branding to paper was always going to be a tall order. We looked to marbled endpapers – a traditional bookmakers material – and commissioned our own modern, innovative, screen-printed gallery with swirling iridescent metallic inks to line our envelopes, back our business cards and bookend our own beautiful, promotional books.

    And there’s a new website too – showcasing some of our most beautiful, innovative bespoke books for artists, businesses and individuals across the globe. You’ll find it at

    Our thanks go to Carter Wong Design, Chris Wormell, Paul Barnes and the late, great, Berthold Wolpe. We hope you enjoy our new identity as much as we do – let us know if you’d like to take a look in person.

    Best wishes from Hurtwood.


    (PS – The Fête des Lumières – or Festival of Light – takes place each December in Lyon, France’s Capital of lights.)

  2. Monet, Matisse and Me

    May 17, 2019 by Joanna Hilton

    Working with great works of art is a huge privilege. But doing justice to the original is our biggest challenge.

    In 2016 I visited the exhibition at the Royal Academy in London ‘Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse’ and, apart from being a deeply satisfying experience, it brought to mind again how hugely enjoyable it is to print these great works.

    Re-creating the work of great artists

    I have been very fortunate to work up close and personal with the works of two of the artists from the exhibition, Monet and Matisse.

    A few years ago, having just completed a book of Joan Miró’s masonite pictures for an exhibition at Art Basel we embarked on two new publications for Helly Nahmad Gallery in London. The gallery specialises in classic modern and post-war art and was mounting an exhibition of Monet to be followed by another on Matisse. Both books were to be designed by the highly creative designer Fernando Guttiérrez.

    As is usual with work today, the first proofs were made from the digital files and then compared against the originals and colour corrected.

    First Impressions

    Meeting the original works for the first time is always an exciting and sobering moment. With Monet and Matisse it’s a privilege to be alone in a room with some of the most beautiful and inspiring art ever made with only my notebook and a cup of tea for company. But it’s daunting too because I’m attempting to discern and assess the difference between original and proof and how best to reduce this difference. Also, these are differences not just of colour in an absolute sense, but also of scale. The original painting is usually considerably larger in real life than the printed reproduction and the artist, of course, had any colour they wished at their disposal whereas I am limited to four [we can and do use special inks and non-standard process colours but that’s for a different blog]. We must be able to have confidence in the changes made because from this point we’re on our own. These aren’t the client’s corrections; they’re ours.

    Colour and space

    One of the greatest impressionists alive and still working today  is, of course, Bridget Riley. I made a series of books for Bridget and was lucky enough to be able to talk with her about colour and how we can better reproduce her work in our printing. What became clear is that it’s not really about specific colours but rather the relationships between colours, just as it’s not about placing ink on the paper but rather allowing the light within the work to radiate out.

    Open your Mind to the Picture

    Once you realise this, colour corrections become relatively simple. You will feel the changes you need. Some specifics are necessary but once you have stopped worrying about what you think you can’t do you will know how to change your proof.

    The effect of light, colour and the relationship of colours to each other is demonstrated very clearly in this photo. They are both reproductions of Bridget Riley’s painting Clepsydra (1976) and were both printed by the same company. The one on the left was printed in 2003 and the one on the right in 1978. There are several reasons for the difference but the main one is that the 2003 version forgot about colour ‘differences’ and assumed that the computer must be right and the 1978 version was made by people who knew what they wanted and used their equipment to get it. This is not a ‘lost’ skill (as I hope our books will demonstrate) but you do need to know that it was possible, and that it still is possible. Technology has made it easier in many ways but it’s the people using the technology that’s important, their knowledge, their skill (both taught and innate) and their understanding of colour and its perception. Incidentally, the 2003 book won industry awards for colour reproduction.

    If you want to better understand why one image seems alive and the other not, remember that impressionists don’t make colour with black and then take a look at a standard Photoshop separation. But however it’s done, I know which one gives me the right impression.

    Words: Francis Atterbury

  3. How green are we?

    by Joanna Hilton

    Our books are designed have a big splash. But we’re working hard to reduce the environmental impact of their production.

    The printing industry can be high impact in terms of energy, water and waste. We make careful choices about the manufacturing processes involved in our books, the materials we use and the suppliers and teams with whom we work.

    Binding for Longevity

    We are well known for high quality books produced in both short and long runs. Books bearing the Hurtwood imprint are always made with care and are designed and built to last. We specialise in hardback books, sewn in sections using PVA (water based) glue with a cloth, leather or paper covering. Books made this way are archival (this includes our Tailored range) and if, in a few hundred years, the binding become a little worn or loose, it can be soaked off and the original book blocks (the inner pages) re-bound. Watch this short video, it’s a bit corny, but does demonstrate perfectly.


    We like to work with printers who share our values. We will always place your work with the right printer for the job, and we use a number of European suppliers but, wherever possible we like to work with Pureprint who are a recognised leader in environmental printing and, with their long running record of high quality art printing, they are the perfect partner. We usually print our short run work on an HP Indigo 12000 digital offset press and this allows us to operate with almost zero waste, something that was unthinkable until relatively recently. We can, and do, advise on longer more commercial type projects, but always with our Hurtwood ‘benchmarks of quality’ as a baseline.

    The paper

    All of our Tailored Books along with many other titles we produce, are printed on Mohawk Superfine paper. It is US Library of Congress certified as archival and guaranteed not to fade or discolour for 500 years (or your money back!). Manufactured using windpower it is, in our opinion, the best of its kind for high quality and sustainable print work. As part of their commitment to quality, Mohawk paper is available in both long and short grain. The correct paper grain direction for the pages is crucial.

    A note on recycled papers – there is a great deal of opinion about recycled paper. Provided the pulp is traceable, responsibly produced and the mill certified in its operation, paper made from virgin fibre (not recycled) is a perfectly acceptable material. Trees are one of the best ways to lock carbon from the atmosphere and especially in the early years of life. Most paper forests plant many more trees than they cut down. For us, the biggest waste is a print job that doesn’t work; either through a bad paper choice, bad printing or bad binding. There are are a myriad of papers on the market and we will always advise on what is best for your project.

    Using paper wisely

    Knowing how to use paper efficiently is another critical factor in our work. The flat printed sheets of a book don’t appear at first glance to correspond to the page sequence of the finished book (see diagram). It’s important to understand how to set pages up and impose and fold correctly ensuring minimum waste and optimum layout for our clients designs.

    And what about us?

    From 1994 to 1999 I worked as a Director at Beacon Press (now part of the Pureprint Group), the world’s leading environmental printer. The list of world firsts was impressive; first printer in the world listed in the EMAS register, first printer in the world to be accredited to ISO 14001, first printer to receive the Queen’s Award for Environment (and retained every three years since then). As Sales & Marketing Director, I was involved in how these standards were communicated to stakeholders and spoke regularly at environmental conferences as well as representing the UK industry on an EU Committee trying to find ways to accurately report and harmonise eco-metrics within the industry.

    Our commitment to the wider environment extends to everything we do. We are a Living Wage Employer, supporters of charities such as Sustrans and CleanSpace and we cycle and walk whenever and wherever possible. At Hurtwood, we commit to the highest standards – quality standards and environmental standards; they needn’t be in conflict!

    Words: Francis Atterbury


    Thanks to Phil Carter for the design of the team cycle shirts and Paul Barnes of Commercial Type for the typography advice and ‘artisan’ font.

  4. The Mischievous Mind

    May 16, 2019 by Joanna Hilton

    Graphic Designer Joe Carter on a Hurtwood book that blends sculpture with luxury branding and living with a design legacy.

    Joe, as a young designer, can you tell us a bit about your professional background and your design work?

    I’ve grown up surrounded by Graphic Design — both my parents are in the industry. My father, Phil Carter, and his business partner Phil Wong were a huge inspiration. Then, since graduating from Kingston University about seven years ago, I’ve been very fortunate to work in a wide variety of London’s most renowned studios and agencies with some real heroes of the industry, such as Tony Brook (of Spin) and Paul Belford (I was the first designer to work for his eponymous studio).

    Two years ago, I decided to take my learnings and set up my own studio, with the main aim of utilising every opportunity as a means of consistently creating portfolio-standard work. My practice is based on the formal principals of all good graphic design — great visual ideas combined with the consideration of every possible detail — and applying them to the appropriate media. I’m also obsessed with the processes of production — the way something is made is just as important as the way it looks, and can often influence the outcome of my work.

    The book by Studio Ruuger is about ‘examining the concept of luxury’. Can you give us some background on the content of the book, how the project began, how was it presented to you and what was your brief?

    Studio Ruuger are a small team headed by fashion and product designer Oliver Ruuger. They are recognised for their avant-garde, highly labour-intensive luxury objects, which occupy the borderline between sculpture and product, created through distinctive and skilful modern craftsmanship. They have established themselves as one of the UK’s most exciting new luxury labels, selling in London’s most elite boutiques and even appearing in the forthcoming What is Luxury? exhibition at the V&A Museum.

    I started working with Oliver to develop a new brand identity in 2013. After having initially developed a logo, look and feel, printed stationery and the branding on the products themselves, we needed a means of presenting their wonderful array of work since their inception in 2011 as an additional brand tool. My brief was to find a way to do this that would do their practice justice.

    And what is the intended use of the book?

    The book serves as a sort of high-end portfolio, to thrill both commercial buyers, curators and potential new collaborators.

    How did you interpret the brief?

    Much like the way I handled the rest of their branded materials, I wanted to achieve subtle, attractive detailing combined with the highest production values, and do so using a mixture of traditional and modern techniques, such as marrying digital printing and hand-binding. This seemed particularly appropriate for a studio that also often juxtapose the old and new, such as creating an umbrella handle using a 3D printer and then hand-covering it with natural leather.

    The images are unusual and striking, are you able to explain a little bit about the decisions behind the photo-shoots?

    If I’m perfectly honest, I had very little to do with the content of the images themselves. Oliver has always produced extraordinary work, and I guess I’m the lucky one for being able to work with such great content. But this did mean that it was very important for them to be presented cleanly and as large as possible, and printed at the utmost quality.

    And if that led to any particular design challenges?

    Well I guess this would usually mean weeks of painstaking repro work, especially what with the book being printed digitally, but thankfully the whole process was handled by Hurtwood. The results are sublime.

    What influenced your choice of typography and the use of ligatures?

    It was a combination of two things really. I’d already established the Baskerville typeface as a key component when I developed the Studio Ruuger brand identity in 2013, so it was nice to create some consistency with all of the other printed matter we’d already developed. Add to this one of the font’s greatest features — those remarkable ligatures — and a delicate, almost organic feel to the longer blocks of text was formed. Very much like the unique flourishes in Oliver’s work.

    How did you select the ‘bespoke’ elements of the book, the cloth colour, blocking and endpapers?

    Again, there were a few elements of this which were predetermined by colours and materials we’d used in the past for his stationery, etc. We continued to use a monochrome palette. We’ve only ever blind-debossed the logo, so we continued this on the cover. Also, the Coltskin embossing texture provided by GFSmith’s brilliant Colorplan range (that we used on all the branded stationery) provides a subtle, natural, almost leather-like quality to the endpapers. Considering that most of the studio’s products involve leather in some form, this was an obvious choice. Black cloth and monochrome head and tail bands were the final details that made the book such a luxury object.

    You obviously had strong ideas on the design and look of the book, did you have an opinion on the best way to print and bind the book?

    Having been told about Hurtwood Press and their Tailored Books a few years ago, I’d been keen to find the right project/client combination to give it a whirl. Also, considering that we didn’t have the budget to produce a huge run of books, but still needed the highest production quality, it seemed a perfect fit.

    What made you decide to use Hurtwood’s Books for the production?

    The ability to make something that exuded luxury in every way for an initial run of only three books.

    What was your reaction to the finished book?

    I thought it was, and still is, stunning. We started with such a high benchmark in terms of the finish we required, so there was real pressure to achieve perfection. Having worked with Francis before, I expected no less, but was still blown away when I unwrapped that first copy.

    And was it well received by your client?

    Initially we only printed three copies — a huge benefit of using Hurtwood was that you specialise in short run printing — so I guess it was a pretty good indication of the book’s success when we found ourselves printing another 15 copies a month later. Apparently even the legendary Karl Lagerfeld now has a copy on his desk.

    We’ve plans to make a new edition every couple of years, utilising the same format and production processes. I can’t wait to see the series as a whole one day.

    Words: Joe Carter


    The Mischievous Mind was entered by Hurtwood for the British Book Design & Production Awards and was Highly Commended in the digitally printed category — where print quality, typography and design are looked at closely.

  5. Mark Epstein, A Random Walk

    by Joanna Hilton

    Hurtwood special guest Mark Epstein, on documentary photography that looks forward not backwards and celebrating the world’s first 2D material.

    Documentary photography often takes the form of legacy projects that seek to preserve something disappearing in the face of change – it could be a physical space, a community or a way of life. This project, A Random Walk, is the opposite. I wanted to capture something emerging into the world. The new material, graphene, is the first 2D material. It’s just one atom thick and has many extraordinary properties. It’s about 100 times stronger than the strongest steel, conducts heat and electricity; it’s nearly transparent and is flexible. These qualities make this material hugely interesting for its potential uses: flexible electronic devices, battery technology and desalination are just a few areas of interest. For the last twelve years it’s been creating quite a buzz in the worlds of physics, chemistry and even biology and it all started at the University of Manchester. Two professors, Andre Geim (below) and Konstantin Novoselov picked-up the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in this area and a new institute, the National Graphene Institute has recently been built. Research into graphene is happening world-wide and there is a rush to find applications and bring them to market but Manchester is still at the forefront of this race and much work is still at the research stage.

    A quiet revolution

    For this project I set about interviewing and photographing anyone and everyone working in and around graphene at the university. Online and in thousands of academic papers, the science is being discussed, debated and disseminated but nobody was speaking about the people making this quiet revolution happen. I wanted to lift up the graphene curtain just a little, and peek underneath at those doing the work – their motivations, hopes and fears and hopefully get a few stories along the way. Their stories were brilliant – not just the science, but discussions of wider ethical challenges, personal histories, journeys and obsessions – I found myself building a disparate, multinational collection of gifted women and men. After interviewing Kostas, I couldn’t sleep. It may have been all the coffee but more than likely it was his hugely generous, energetic explanation of where he’s taking this new material and ethically, how carefully his group have to tread bringing graphene into the body. And Maria (bottom row left) described how she came to work at the National Graphene Institute, from school in Moldova, via university in Romania. I could see the thread that had brought her to this place; not ambition in any conventional sense, but rather the drive to discover and learn more. It was thrilling to meet such remarkable people. And then I took their photograph.

    A physical form

    For a project is to be properly realised, it needs to have a physical form, be it a set of prints, an exhibition or a book. The project became, not an objective, critical view of graphene, but a subjective story told by a fan of these people. My photography grows out of love and sympathy for my subjects – I’ve tried taking cool, objective views of the world around me but it just doesn’t work – I get too excited when I take photographs, so I have to settle for my own partial view with all its limitations laid bare. And this subjectivity extends beyond the subject to the people I work with, who give shape to my vision. I can’t work with picture framers or printers or publishers who don’t get what I’m trying to say. My pictures can only be made material by those who sympathise with the stories I’m trying to tell – it’s not something I can explain easily – but I can feel it when it happens. 

    And it happened with Francis at Hurtwood Press. I first met him briefly at an art book fair. I took a copy of a beautiful little Artisan Books catalogue and it sat on my desk for two years. What struck me was that they seemed to be the only publisher I’d found who would produce tiny runs at such a high quality. From our first conversation, Francis not only knew what I wanted to do, he was ahead of me, making suggestions that took the project forward. When you’re battling to get a project off the ground having an ally is hugely important. I didn’t know if my idea was any good, if my writing was interesting or if my images were clichés but Francis got what I was trying to do from the first moment. Throughout the nine months of the project Francis sent me postcards of random images with no particular message. At the beginning, I thought “who the hell’s that from?” but then they became little reminders that Hurtwood Press hadn’t forgotten me even though we hadn’t chatted for a while. I’m planning to frame them all and put them on the wall in my new study as they form an oblique visual reminder of the journey I took with Francis through this project. As I said, my photography grows out of love and sympathy, a sense that extends beyond my subjects and when that feeling is returned to me, it’s somehow reflected in the book we produced together. When every decision in the book-making process is made with experience and love: the paper, the printing, the binding, the design and the fonts, what results is a beautiful object that is somehow more than the sum of its parts. Don’t expect cool objectivity from me towards Hurtwood Press, I’ve become a fan.

    Words: Mark Epstein


    A Random Walk was produced using our Tailored Book landscape size (235 x 300mm). The dark grey book cloth ‘Plate’ was an obvious choice, and customised with white foil blocked text. The book also had custom endpapers and pages, designed by Carter Wong Design. Printing was by Pureprint and the binding was by Ludlow Bookbinders.

  6. Creatures of the night & other stories

    by Joanna Hilton

    Graphic artist Billie Temple’s tale of design inspired by fine art, Titania, Lysander, Puck, and the lure of WILD colours.

    Billie, as a young graphic artist/designer, can you tell us a bit about your professional background and your work?

    My original training is in Fine Art, I did a BA at St Martins back when it was still next to Foyles on the Charing Cross Road. I spent three years making fine art videos and installations but these always included design elements and printed matter. As time progressed my passion for paper and print increased. I got into designing album covers for friend’s bands and went on to get my first job in a design agency. I actually started out as a production manager and learnt the ropes from there. Since then I have worked for a variety of extremely interesting people ranging from a fine art taxidermist to an ex-Beatle and on to heritage institutions and large scale corporations. My work is very diverse but I am constantly influenced by my fine art background – the artist Maurizo Cattelan is a source of constant inspiration to me. He publishes an astonishingly exciting magazine called Toiletpaper.

    Creativity is at the heart of what I do. Whether I am rebranding a corporate business or illustrating an album sleeve I always try to take the any ideas to the max – really play with them and manipulate all the possible options before reigning it back in again and distilling an concept. This doesn’t mean all my work is a carnival of colour! This process is just as likely to lead to a clean, minimalist approach – it is about what is most appropriate for the task at hand! I enjoy subverting expectations and making sure that all my work has a imaginative edge.

    You designed a series of three books for The Chapel hair salons, can you give us some background on the content of the book? How did the project begin? How was it presented to you and what was your brief?

    I got to talking with Georgia, a Director of the London Salon, who did the portrait photography within the books, about a project she had on the boil. The concept was series of books featuring portraits of the staff who work at each salons. She was eager for the books to be very imaginative and reflect the creative spirit she had been endeavouring to capture in her photography. Each book was to have it’s own individual personality and theme and she stressed that she wanted them to be unusual and eye-catching.

    Why was it important to the client to create a book?

    They are prestige brand items really. They were created to reflect the innovative nature of the salons and to reinforce this with their guests.

     What is the intended use of the book?

    They are intended to sit in the waiting area (which are quite luxurious in all the Chapel Salons and where they hold their initial consultations) along side other art and photography books for guests to browse through whilst they wait.

     And can you tell us a bit about your interpretation of the brief?

    Initially I came up with a theme for each book and ran from there. Georgia had mentioned that she wanted zombies so this very much influenced the theme of the Creatures of the Night book! I then had to decide how much copy, if any, would be in each book and how key words would be to communicating the theme.

    For the Creatures of the Night book I wrote a cautionary tales style tale which a short verse for each ‘character’. I decided that I wanted to put all off the portraits into a totally fantasy landscape in pretty much all of the books and wanted to use collage and composite images as the conceit by which to do this. So a lot of sketching, planning and image research ensued. I wanted to make sure there was no repetition across the three books, thus I made clear rules for myself as to the kinds of images and themes in each book.

    The Midsummer Nights Dream theme was very straightforward conceptually, I love flowers and using images of them in unexpected / unusual ways. They are one of nature’s great excesses and I wanted emphasis that fact, making them kaleidoscopic, jewel like and profuse – almost a protagonist in their own right. I chose to run quotes from the play through the book to hang it all together – I felt that it needed this kind of simplistic structure as some of the pages were going to be quite abstract but there were too many portraits to create a written story for each ‘character’ and not over complicate it. I wanted it to be a visual cascade of flowers and nature along which you are guided by snippets Shakespeare’s verse.

    The Islington Imaginarium book required even less copy as each page was to have quite a clear visual story. I wanted the Imaginarium to be an edgy exercise in contemporary pop art and semiotics – using iconoclastic imagery embellished by and set in surreal and prismatic landscapes. Although there are visual themes that link the three books – such as cosmic images and the typography all being hand drawn and stylistically similar. I wanted them to clearly be a set as much as they are thematically individual.

    Did your artwork lead to any particular design challenges?

    YES! One of the big challenges was trying to make sure that there was light and shade in each book. That they were not all one pitch, that there was visual rhythm which hopefully means that they don’t become samey and dull!

    What influenced your choice of typography?

    All the typography is hand drawn. I chose to do this to make sure they the sense of individuality and creativity that Georgia had requested was not lost.

    How and why did you select the ‘bespoke’ elements of the book, the cloth colour, blocking and endpapers?

    The cloth, blocking and endpapers were selected for each book to reflect the concept and theme of the book in question. It was important that the cloth for each book didn’t clash with the images within and reflected the spirit of each book. However the cloths are very important in making sure that the books sit together nicely as set so I wanted to make sure that they would sit beautifully together if they needed to.

    You obviously had strong ideas on the design and look of the book, did you have an opinion on the best way to print and bind the book?

    Yes, I think that the books absolutely needed to be section sewn and case bound. To fulfil their intended purpose and give the contents the depth that the client had requested nothing else would cut the mustard!

    What made you decide to use Hurtwood for the production?

    I honestly don’t know anyone else who could have achieved the astonishingly bright and jewel like colours in these books. They were an incredibly challenging task and my files were a real mix of RGB and CMYK work that needed a seriously expert eye for colour to get the best out of them. They easily could have turned to very upsetting sludge in less experienced hands. I have worked with Hurtwood / Artisan Books for a some time now and hold them in the highest regard, I wouldn’t have entrusted this project to anyone else!

    What was your reaction to the finished book?

    Total and utter delight! They are very beautiful objects and I couldn’t have asked for more!!!!!!

    And was it well received by your client?

    They adored them, they took their breath away! They exceeded their expectations.

    Words: Billie Temple

  7. Based Upon: From sculpture to book

    May 15, 2019 by Joanna Hilton

    Five years of capturing the highly original and endlessly creative installations,bespoke artworks and furniture of Based Upon in print.

    For those who don’t know, Based Upon is a London-based team of artists and designers creating large-scale artworks and sculptural furniture. Founded in 2004 by twin brothers Ian and Richard Abell, their work is inspired by natural and urban landscapes, explorations of archetypal forms and patterns and by the narrative histories woven within a place or group of people. The studio has developed a unique palette of mark making techniques in liquid metals and resins which are presented as a collection of award-winning hand-made surfaces which are used within the world’s finest interiors projects. Based Upon collaborates with architects, designers and brands to create large scale installations, bespoke artworks and sculptural furniture.

    As you can imagine, to a studio where mark-making and recording plays such a vital part, noting and documenting the making of this art is integral to the process. Also, because the work is bespoke and, by it’s very nature unlikely to be seen again except by a relatively small number of people, Based Upon like to make a book to document the making of that artwork. Two or three copies are given to the client and a couple of additional copies are kept in the Based Upon library; both to inform other clients and also to remind themselves and visitors of a work, now long gone.

    Such a very small number of books needed each time had led them to the usual on-line ‘solutions’ but to anyone with even the slightest empathy for materials and craftmanship, it is quickly obvious that such books are simply not good enough. Mass produced, crudely and impersonally made, they are the very antithesis of the work they were supposed to reflect. 

    Knowing what Based Upon needed and what Hurtwood could deliver, we were recommended through another of our ‘Book friends’ and, after a short ‘interview’ involving what felt like most of the Abell family, we set about creating a set of books capable of doing justice to the highly creative work recorded within the texts. What later became our tailored books ‘Classic’ format was originally created as the standard Based Upon book. A wide range of cloth was selected from which to choose and, by regularising the extents (number of pages) at 96 pages we were able to develop the multiple slipcase idea. That means that we make a slipcase capable of holding one, two or three books together. If a prospective client needs to see some examples of work, up to three books can be selected of varied projects. The colours all work well together and create an interesting and intriguing impression. Because the books are always the same thickness, any titles will fit and because the cloths are carefully chosen, no one gets the same combination yet all colours work together.

    Now, several years on and, as Based Upon forge into newer and larger markets, the books are beginning to have a new role beyond simply recording and reporting. Now they are acting as manifesto and catalogue.

    Indeed, the latest series of books are just that. Much larger in scale in scale (330 x 300mm portrait) and extent (204 pages) they tell the story of Based Upon and demonstrate in a practical and beautiful way just why, how and what Based Upon do. Not just in the sense of the ‘object’ made but in the powerful way they gather the information upon which the work is based. No one can look at the intensely personal images within a work and not be moved; imagine how this feels when it is you, your family and your community that is being recorded? So much drama, love and wonder: emotions only a book can convey.

    Visit the Based Upon website.

    Words: Francis Atterbury

  8. What about a book?

    May 14, 2019 by Joanna Hilton

    From innovative marketing campaigns to unique corporate gifts, books can enhance your customer relationships and help win new business too.

    Over the years our books have been used as a thank you for VIP clients, corporate gifts and as part of a media pitch to attract influencers and supporters. Many of our clients wish to preserve their ever growing digital content collections and showcase their product portfolios. This approach helps to tell a story about your business or product in a unique and interesting way

    Sackville Street

    Books to sell property are often lavish; attempting to represent through printing and binding the power and beauty of a building. However, in an unpredictable or rising market, it’s often better to go for fewer and better and that’s exactly what branding agency Carter Wong design did. A projected run of 1,500 books was printed in a first batch of 100 books and then re-ordered in 50s as needed. Notionally more expensive than one single run, but the property was fully sold after just 150 beautiful books! It looked like a pretty shrewd call in the client’s eyes.

    Lloyds, A Corporate Gift

    This book was made as a one off for the outgoing CEO of Lloyds of London and came hot on the heels of an earlier book we’d made for the visit of HM the Queen to Lloyds (read that story here). The book, whilst traditionally and beautifully bound, contained a montage of cuttings, letters and pictures from an exciting and successful career as the head of the world’s insurance market. A book to be passed down the generations.

    UsTwoAuto, Are We There Yet?

    Digital Agency UsTwo asked us to produce a book for them to pitch an innovative discussion around brand, typography and comprehension within vehicle information systems (dashboards to you and me!). It was fantastic seeing how they translated a digital concept into book form and well how a ‘digital’ agency really understood the value of analogue.

    Based Upon, Manual

    We have collaborated with Based Upon for many years now and ‘Manual’ represents their work expressed in book form as a rolling portfolio. Each book is foil blocked on the case with the precise time and date of manufacture and each object within is similarly marked. The book is carried far and wide by Ian and Richard Abel and is a very potent way for Based Upon to influence markets and gain clients. Printed in editions of just fifty every 6–12 months these books provide not just a compelling story for their clients but also a permanent archive of Based Upon’s work.

    Drayson Technologies Clean Space Campaign

    Drayson Technologies wanted to tell the world about Cleanspace; their app that monitors the quality of the air we breathe and rewards the green transport choices that people make. A book was chosen because it is permanent, recyclable and above all elegant with a beautifully curated editorial and graphic story. See inside the book and read more.

    Brewin Dolphin

    Commissioned by boutique branding agency Wreyford. This little promotional book was made for financial business and wealth manager Brewin Dolphin. Read more about the concept and ideas in our guest post by Nick Portet, creative director of Wreyford .

  9. Nick Portet: This isn’t about us

    May 13, 2019 by Joanna Hilton

    Writer/Creative director Nick Portet on modesty, unlocking client relationships, and putting messages front of mind and out of the trash.

    It could have gone either way. I’d told the client that the last thing the world needed was another throw-away A4 brochure: that a hard-back book would unlock new client relationships; and that they needed to pass their message to prospects with care, style and finesse. It was a simple idea but it took a smart client to see its worth. And it took an amazing production company to make it all worthwhile.

    Brewin Dolphin is a well-respected, long established wealth manager, but they’re operating in a crowded, competitive market. We wanted to find a way to deliver a message that resonated with prospective clients – one about why they want to preserve and grow their wealth not just how to do it. And we wanted to package our message in a format that people would struggle to discard – that would stick around and stick with them. Beautiful books are hard to throw away!

    Our book for Brewin Dolphin is the coming together of a strategic idea, a creative concept and careful, insightful production. It’s all too easy for ideas and concepts to run out of steam and never quite fulfil their promise – but not this time. Francis and his team at Hurtwood understand one of the most difficult equations – how to balance production cost with true, long-term value. They gave the client the book they needed within a budget that made sense.

    The client’s happy, it’s a beautifully branded cloth-bound treat that feels like a gift that clients can enjoy receiving (and reading too I hope). Hurtwood made my words look great (for which I am eternally grateful) but will it work? Will it win new clients? Will it change minds and confirm convictions? Time will tell, but as Henry Ford famously said, ‘quality is about doing it right when no one is looking’. Perfect words for Hurtwood Press. And, thanks to them, people will be looking at our little book for Brewin Dolphin for a while to come. 

    Words: Nick Portet

    Images: Ed Tritton


    Nick is a writer, consultant and the creative director of Wreyford – a boutique branding agency working with financial and professional services firms world wide. Visit the Wreyford website or contact Nick by email.

  10. Metamerism

    May 12, 2019 by Joanna Hilton

    How we’re shedding new light on why, when it comes to matching colours perfectly, there’s no substitute for natural daylight.

    Metamerism (illuminant metameric failure, actually) Rarely mentioned by name, but often a problem. Metamerism describes the effect whereby a colour can appear to change depending on the light source under which it is viewed and the material upon which it is reproduced. For example, imagine a paint sample in a swatch book. In daylight, when the paint is chosen, bought and painted on the wall it looks the same as on the printed swatch book. However, that evening, when the light source changes, the colour looks different in the swatch book compared to the paint on the wall: well, that’s matamerism.

    Interesting but irrelevant? Perhaps. But in printing we’re often asked to approve images on press by comparing them to a proof (usually digital and on a different material to the printing paper). You may well be asked to view the proof and printed sheet in a viewing booth where fluorescent tubes are used to simulate a lighting condition (usually daylight).

    This happened to me a couple of weeks ago and, on press, the image needed a lot less yellow ink in order to match the proof. I became suspicious because nothing else had been out of balance and anyway, I’m a suspicious sort of person. I was concerned that I was in the middle of an illuminant metameric failure. It was 11am and the sun was out so off we trooped to a viewing area nicely in the shade of the bins and sure enough, the image needed more yellow, not less, to match the proof. A complete reversal of the indoor plan (look in the shade, not direct sunlight).

    Colour is a strongly subjective perception Obviously, I really appreciate the expense companies go to simulate daylight conditions but, if the sun’s out, you can’t really beat the real thing. And remember, the only lighting condition you can be certain you share with the client is real daylight.

    This summer was a grim D50

    Words: Francis Atterbury