Catherine Dixon


Catherine Dixon is a designer, writer and teacher. As a designer she works mostly with text-based projects, including covers for the award-winning Great Ideas series for Penguin Books as well as complex book design work for a range of publishing clients. As a writer she has a particular interest in typeface design and the forms of letters more generally, contributing to the website <> and co-authoring with Phil Baines the book 'Signs: lettering in the environment'. She also writes for a range of typographic journals and magazines including Matrix, Eye magazine, Codex and new imprint Random Spectacular. She is a regular speaker at typography and design conferences around the world, a recent highlight being the opportunity to speak last year at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in the USA and has even appeared on the international radio station of Monocle magazine to talk about typography. She herself has helped to organize a number of typography and design-related events mainly for the famous St Bride Printing Library in London, including a series of 3 conferences exploring the contemporary relevance of letterpress, a theme also picked up in a series of recent commissions, personal projects and an exhibition. In addition to running numerous workshops and creative short courses in typography she is a Senior Lecturer and researcher at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design (CSM) in London where she herself first graduated in 1992 and later studied for her Doctorate, which explored issues around typeface classification. At CSM she teaches on the Graphic Communication Programme, supervises ongoing typographic research and co-curates The Central Lettering Record, an archive of lettering practices with an emphasis on architectural lettering, which forms part of the college’s Museum & Contemporary Collections. From 2011–12 she was a Visiting Professor at the University of São Paulo in Brazil.


BITS MMXIV International Workshop
Catherine Dixon
November 14, 2014.
Auditorium A, TCDC
3.30 - 5.30 pm.
Available slots : 14 people

"Working with words: language, structure + expression"

An opening brief theoretical and historical overview sets the scene for a hands-on workshop exploring the expressive potential for the layout of language using the vehicle of poetry as an experimental playground. The workshop is about enjoying words in a very visual sense but is no mere exercise in self-indulgence, rather an opportunity to engage with techniques useful in enriching approaches to typography in our more everyday contexts.


Workshop equipment requirements (per person)
1. 2 or 3 large sheets (A2 is ideal) of paper thin enough to trace through (ideally so-called ‘layout paper’ though not ‘tracing paper’)
2. Graphite pencil (B or HB)
3. Pencil sharpener
4. Rubber
5. Ruler (at least 30cm though longer ideal)


BITS MMXIV International Conference
Catherine Dixon
November 15, 2014.
11.30 -12.30 am.

"Hands-on: typography as social activism"

With more and more of modern daily life now managed for us digitally, so a converse fascination with the analogue in typography and lettering practice has grown, especially in relation to letterpress printing. So great is current designerly enthusiasm for such hands-on approaches that many educational institutions are now seeking to reinstate letterpress technologies alongside their digital contemporaries. This talk explores the social potential of engaging with typography in this hands-on way, from both a UK educational perspective and beyond – featured projects including a workshop in a Brazilian slum where an old press is helping to build community, and the vibrant political activism evident in design studios in Buenos Aires and Barcelona.