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New Impressions – contemporary design celebrates Renaissance books

Lucy Marks
Norfolk Network

Darren Leader Studio in collaboration with the University of East Anglia’s Unlocking the Archive have created ‘New Impressions: redesigning Norwich’s Renaissance books’, a creative research project and exhibition which features the work of graphic designers, print makers and artists based in East Anglia.

Design: Mark Fuller, Nicer Than Nice

Together they have investigated the Renaissance books collection held at the Norfolk Heritage Centre, Norwich to create contemporary design responses to inspire new generations to discover a hitherto hidden resource of historic book design that dates back to the beginning of print technology. The design research by New Impressions revealed a rich resource of typography and page composition which often prompts active annotation by the reader. “I felt there were many parallels with modern design practices, and I was curious if other designers could make similar connections”, says Darren Leader who with the support of printer Page Bros and Fedriogoni UK set a brief to create a poster or publication inspired by the content and design of Renaissance books, and its purpose to disseminate knowledge, engage readers, and encourage exquisite artisanal craftsmanship.

Design: Andy Campbell

New Impressions include the work of: Jordan Blyth, The Click, Andy Campbell, Type & Numbers, Nicer Than Nice, Jason Hyde, Johnson Design, Norfolk Network member A Fine Studio, Darren Leader Studio, Maddison Graphic, Oliver Milner-Smith, Special Design Studio, Print to the People, Louise Richardson, Creative Giant and Paul Wolterink.

Sean Perkins of North Design and Fiona Lettice, UEA Pro Vice Chancellor viewed New Impressions in November of last year and selected three works to be displayed at the Norfolk Heritage Centre. Sean remarked that, ‘New Impressions is a fantastic idea, beautifully executed and brought to life.’

Design: Darren Leader Studio

New Impressions culminated with an exhibition at the Crypt Gallery, Norwich.
Unlocking the Archive launch their website soon.

Photos: Andy Crouch