Books for sale and on view from 9 Oct. – 30 Nov. 2009.
– Norman Potter, What is a designer
– Norman Potter, Models & Constructs
– Anthony Froshaug: Typography & texts / Documents of a life
– E.C. Large, Sugar in the air
– E.C. Large, Asleep in the afternoon
– Stuart Bailey & Robin Kinross, God’s amateur
‘Hyphen Press was started in 1980 to publish one book, What is a designer by Norman Potter. This book had been published first in 1969, in the wake of the events of that time. Potter, then teaching design, joined the students at Hornsey College of Art in their occupation of the school. By the late-1970s the book was out of print, and its publisher was now part of a larger imprint with no interest in reissuing it. Norman Potter and I worked together on a second edition, expanding it to about twice the length of the original. In full control of editing, design and production, we made the book we wanted. Partly as a way of supplying pictures to an unillustrated work, Potter wrote an accompanying pamphlet, Designing a present, which included contributions from his colleagues. We handled distribution ourselves, and encountered all the difficulties that this brings. But the book sold out eventually. What is a designer certainly has the spirit of 1968 – but, as its subsequent history has shown, it has other dimensions too.
This adventure set the course for Hyphen Press. Through the 1980s, I was busy with other things, and selling this book was just a part of my activities. Hyphen started a second phase of life when Potter and I started work on a third edition of What is a designer, and on his second book Models & Constructs. These were published in 1989 and 1990. After this the list began to grow, with other writers joining. Each book continued to be in some way a collaboration between author (often also designer) and myself as editor.
In 2000 I finished a book about the typographer Anthony Froshaug, which I had worked on for about 15 years. Froshaug and Potter were close friends and colleagues, and it had been Froshaug who had introduced me to Potter. So this book joined the sequence of works that represent and document a certain element of English culture, and one that was previously unknown except within small circles.
Later still, in 2008, with Potter and Froshaug long gone, we added to this sequence by reissuing books by the English writer E.C. Large – which had provided some inspiration and reassurance for both of them. This effort of rediscovery was done in collaboration with Stuart Bailey. He and I made a third book, God’s amateur: the writing of E.C. Large, to accompany the reissue of the novels.’