Joseph Churchward
David Bennewith
2009 ... added April 2009

297 x 210 mm, 278 pages, dustjacket + photograph insert, Ed. 550 + 25  (unbound)

typography, alphabet, book, offset, photocopy, waterless offset, web offset

Samoan-born New Zealand-based alphabet and advertising designer Joseph Churchward (b. 1932) is simply and absolutely the best-kept secret in New Zealand graphic design.

The alphabets of this inveterate hand-lettering hold-out, over 600 of them, are only just being rediscovered and redeployed by a new generation of graphic designers who are fascinated by the intense aliveness of his designs, forming, as they do, the spine of a 60s-80s New Zealand vernacular.

David Bennewith, the composer of this volume, first at the Werkplaats Typografie then to the post-academic Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands, undertook sustained research into Churchward’s work, and assembled this spirited analyses of his cult oeuvre. Bennewith’s emphasis was on making as a form of research, so the book tracks the usage of Churchward’s work and is structured as an on-going, open conversation between users.

This small-edition publication presents an overview of the work of Churchward, compiling archive material, correspondence, realised and un-realised designwork, and alphabet designs. Visual material is interspersed with essays on aspects of Churchward’s practice by New Zealand and overseas writers and designers.

Joseph Churchward attempts to tell the story-in-process of New Zealand’s most prolific designer of letters to date. It comprehensively details Churchward’s myriad type designs – a total resource for type geeks of all ages. It includes a dustjacket that is also a typeface ready-reckoner poster.

See also