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Always Now: Typography and Semiotics

Event ended

Always Now: Typography and Semiotics

From GBP 5.00



Mar 14 2024 18:45 - 20:30
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Always Now: Typography and Semiotics
Peter Saville in conversation with Paul Barnes

Date: Thursday 14 March 2024
Location: St Bride Foundation and Online via Zoom


In-person times (GMT):
Doors/bar: 6.15pm
Talk starts: 7pm
Talk ends: 8.30pm
In-person tickets: £8.5, £11, £13

Online time (GMT): 7.00–8.30pm
Online tickets: £5, £7
Please note: you will be emailed the Zoom link for the talk at 6pm GMT on the day of the talk.

Throughout his career, Peter Saville has consistently put type to work, often in conjunction with imagery, to elegantly sign the ‘way' for many of us. In conversation with his friend and typographic consultant, Paul Barnes, Saville will discuss how his work, from his time as Co-founder and Art Director of legendary UK label Factory Records through to a more recent collaboration with Sir Jonathan Ive’s studio LoveFrom, has been informed by an intuitive understanding of the semiotic power typography has to shape contemporary culture.


Peter Saville (b. 1955, Manchester, England). As co-founder and art director of the independent UK record label Factory Peter Saville created some of the most iconic record covers of all time, best exemplified by those he designed for Joy Division and New Order between 1979–1993. His radical approach seemed to break all the rules, sometimes omitting information about artists or titles, or employing visual codes, fundamentally questioning modes of consumption and communication.

Going on to work extensively in fashion and the cultural sector, his achievements were celebrated in ‘The Peter Saville Show’ at the Design Museum London, 2003. His first major show in a contemporary art museum was at the Migros Museum in Zurich, 2005 and he continues to exhibit internationally. His first monograph was published by Frieze, 2003. Saville is a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) and won the London Design Medal in 2013. In 2020 he received the CBE in recognition of the positive impact of his work over the past 40 years.


Paul Barnes (b. 1970) is a graphic designer specializing in the fields of lettering, typography, type design and publication design. He is partner with Christian Schwartz at Commercial Type, a type foundry based in London and New York.

We would like to thank Google and The Wynkyn de Worde Society Charitable Trust for their generosity in sponsoring this lecture.


Established in 1891 with a clear social and cultural purpose, St Bride Foundation is one of London’s hidden gems.

Housed in a beautiful Grade II listed Victorian building, St Bride Foundation was originally set up to serve the burgeoning print and publishing trade of nearby Fleet Street, and is now finding a new contemporary audience of designers, printmakers and typographers who come to enjoy a regular programme of design events and workshops.

Many thousands of books, printing-related periodicals and physical objects are at the heart of St Bride Library. Volumes on the history of printing, typography, newspaper design and paper-making jostle for space alongside one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of type specimens. The printed, written, carved and cast word may be found at St Bride in its myriad forms. Architectural lettering and examples of applied typography in many media, together with substantial collections of steel punches and casting matrices for metal types are also held in this eclectic collection. The Reading Room is open to visitors twice a month and on other days by appointment. Although we operate on a cost-neutral basis, it is necessary to charge for some of our services. Details are available by emailing the library team at

St Bride retains many of its original features, including the baths, laundry, printing rooms and library. As part of the Foundation’s original mission to provide for the community, many of the building’s unique and characterful spaces are available to hire whether for meetings, weddings or classes.

St Bride also houses the popular Bridewell Theatre, and Bridewell Bar (once the laundry), and hosts a year-round programme of plays, comedy, music and exhibitions.

With some 65,000 visitors a year St Bride Foundation is a major London hub for the creative arts in London. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


St Bride Foundation, 14 Bride Ln, EC4Y 8EQ London


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