The Twentieth Century Society

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Events Archive

Words on Buildings: Lettering and the environment in the 20th Century - Nicolete Gray and the Central School Lettering Record

Gordon Cullen, cover for Nicolete Gray, Lettering on Buildings, 1960



The Gallery, 70 Cowcross St

Words on Buildings: Lettering and the Environment in the Twentieth Century 

Thursday 10th November at 6.30pm, The Gallery, 70, Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ Doors open at 6pm

The autumn 2016 lecture series celebrates the centenary of Edward Johnston’s Underground type with six speakers who look at the ideas behind changing styles of architectural lettering, and how the use of lettering is a key aspect of design that is often overlooked. 


Thursday 10th November 

Nicolete Gray and the Central Lettering Record

Dr Catherine Dixon, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London


In a series of articles commissioned by The Architectural Review in the 1950s lettering scholar Nicolete Gray set out her thoughts on how architects might better consider the role of lettering in the built environment. Her argument, which advocated greater diversity in practice, was further elaborated in her book Lettering on buildings (1960) and was subsequently to inform her teaching at the Central School. An ambitious programme for collecting lettering models for study helped to shape a unique photographic archive, the Central Lettering Record, which is still in use today.


Catherine Dixon is a designer, writer and teacher. She has written regularly on letterforms in environmental contexts, contributing to the website and co-authoring with Phil Baines the book Signs: lettering in the environment. She is a Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins (part of University of the Arts London) where she teaches typography on the Graphic Communication Design programme and co-curates the Central Lettering Record. 

Members £8.00    Non Members £10.00   Students £5.00 (glass of wine included)