Staff Profile:Mr Eric Kindel
- Mr Eric Kindel
- Job Title:
- Associate Professor
- Director of Teaching & Learning (Department), Year Tutor for Part 3 (undergraduate programme).
- Areas of Interest:
Work and research interests presently encompass three areas: the AHRC-funded 'Isotype revisited' project, the history of stencilling, and episodes of 20th-century design and production. These are described below. Further remarks can also be found in this interview.
Research is now concluding on the three-and-a-half year 'Isotype revisited' project, for which I have served as Principal Investigator (together with co-Investigator Prof. Sue Walker). The project was funded by a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and has been using as its core archive the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection housed in the Department. Further details can be found on the project website.
In addition to project management, specific research has focussed on Isotype work in 1950s trans-colonial West Africa, including in Sierra Leone, Gold Coast (Ghana) and especially the Western Region of Nigeria. Initial findings have (for example) been reported in:
Eric Kindel. 2010. 'Reaching the people: Isotype beyond the West', delivered to the workshop 'Picturing social facts: on Neurath's visual language', 33rd International Wittgenstein Symposium, Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria, 9 August 2010.
Project work has also included the exhibition 'Isotype: international picture language' at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Dec. 2010 - Mar. 2011), curated by the 'Isotype revisited' team in collaboration with the V&A.
The stencilled text
This area of work is a wide-ranging investigation into the history of stencils as used principally for lettering and marking out texts. The aim is to establish a broader historical account of this basic printing method by drawing together artefacts and practices that have in many cases fallen from view.
'The stencilled text' includes two main areas of work. 'Reconstructing stencil letters, c.1700' has involved the reconstruction of equipment for stencilling texts, as described in a late 17th-century manuscript compiled by Gilles Filleau des Billettes for the French Royal Academy of Sciences. 'Jean Gabriel Bery, maker of letters, Paris' is an investigation into the life and work of this Paris stencil maker from whom Benjamin Franklin purchased a large collection of stencils in 1781. Both areas of work have drawn on partnerships and collaborations with Prof. James Mosley and Dutch scholar and type designer Prof. Fred Smeijers; each area will form the basis of a forthcoming monograph.
'The stencilled text' has also included several spin-off strands, including a close study of the 'Adjustable Stencil', an important and enduring invention of 1870s Chicago (Journal of the Printing Historical Society, cited below); a short essay on the 'Plaque Découpée Universelle', a stencil guide for constructing geometric sanserif characters, unveiled at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878 (Typography Papers 7, cited below); a detailed examination of a new method of printing based on stencilling, invented by the eminent Dutch mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens in the late 1660s (Journal of the Printing Historical Society, cited below); and a survey of stencils as used by architects, engineers and surveyors (AA Files, cited below).
The two main areas of work have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, American Philosophical Society, Printing Historical Society, and University of Reading's Research Endowment Trust Fund.
Eric Kindel. 2013. 'A tradition with breaks' [Stencil typefaces], Eye, 86, pp. 38-55
--. 2012. 'Between writing & type: the stencil letter', exhibition catalogue text, 24 pp; see 'exhibitions' entry below; and catalogue text here.
--. 2010. 'Fit to be seen: stencils for architects, engineers and surveyors', AA Files, no. 61, [Autumn] 2010, pp. 100-109
--. 2010. The Oxford companion to the book, headword entries for 'Stencil', 'Copying machine', and 'Pochoir'.
--. 2009. 'Delight of men and gods: Christiaan Huygens's new method of printing', Journal of the Printing Historical Society, new series, no. 14, Autumn 2009, pp. 5-40 (view PDF; made available by permission of the Printing Historical Society)
--. 2007. 'The "Plaque Découpée Universelle": a geometric sanserif in 1870s Paris', Typography papers, 7, 2007, pp. 71–80
--. 2006. 'Patents progress: the Adjustable Stencil', Journal of the Printing Historical Society, new series, no. 9, Spring 2006, pp. 65–92 ( view PDF; made available by permission of the Printing Historical Society)
--. 2003. 'Recollecting stencil letters', Typography papers, 5, 2003, pp. 65–101
--. 2002. 'Stencil work in America, 1850-1900', Baseline 38, Summer 2002, pp. 5–12
--. 2001. 'Marked by time', Eye, 10(40), Summer 2001, pp. 48–51
'Between writing & type: the stencil letter', Kades-Kaden project space, Catapult, Antwerp, 20 April-29 June 2012, co-curated with Fred Smeijers.
Related papers (selected)
Eric Kindel. 2013. 'Futura Black, circa 1860', ATypI Amsterdam, 10 October 2013
--. 2011. 'Stencils for architects, engineers, and surveyors', ATypI Reykjavik, 16 September 2011
--. 2011. 'Recording knowledge: Christiaan Huygens and the invention of stencil duplicating', Archives & Texts seminar series, University of Reading, 17 February 2011; revised and reprised for the 'Scientific Illustration' seminar series, University of Burgundy (Dijon), 9 March 2012.
--. 2010. 'Stencil letters: what are they good for? Assessing a decade of research, teaching and practice', 4th International Conference on Typography and Visual Communication, Nicosia, Cyprus, 18 June 2010; jointly presented with Fred Smeijers
--. 2008. 'Christiaan Huygens's new method of printing', Material Text Workshop, University of Reading, 6 February 2008
--. 2007. 'The stencilled text, featuring the work of Jean Gabriel Bery', 3rd International Conference on Typography and Visual Communication, Thessaloniki, 21 June 2007; jointly presented with Fred Smeijers
--. 2006. 'The stencilled text: recent advances in research', ATypI Lisbon, 1 October 2006; jointly presented with Fred Smeijers
--. 2006. 'The stencilled text: principles & practices', Rencontres internationales de Lure, 22 August 2006; jointly presented with Fred Smeijers
--. 2003. 'Stencil letters/lettres au pochoir', a day-long seminar in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, co-sponsored by the Institut d'Histoire du Livre (Lyon), 31 January 2003; presentations (EK) included 'Four centuries of stencil letters & stencilling: an overview', 'Reconstructing stencil letters, c.1700' (with Fred Smeijers), 'Methods of manufacture', and 'Stencil work in America, 1850-1900'. Also included were 'The stencilled public notice in France - with a glance at some Modernist fans' (James Mosley) and demonstrations of stencilling (EK) and stencil cutting (FS).
--. 2002. 'Reconstructing stencil letters, c.1700', ATypI/Roma, 21 September 2002; jointly presented with Fred Smeijers
Studies in 20th-century design and production
Work under this heading focuses on themes and episodes of twentieth-century graphic design characterised by a strong production dimension. This approach is principally demonstrated by three essays in the series: 'When 1+1=3', exploring the uses and meaning of colour overprinting; 'Worlds of moiré', surveying the varied applications for moiré in design, engineering and the arts; and 'Cheap jack flash', recovering the moment fluorescent inks were introduced to Britain in 1950. The series has also sought to extend the generally perceived boundaries of graphic design practice by investigating instances of non-designers adopting its production tools to extraordinary or enduring effect, as in 'Hoofdletters ...', explaining a scheme for reading and publishing introduced to post-War Netherlands by the economist, politician and inventor George van den Bergh; and 'Ishihara', tracing the development of this well-known test for colour deficient vision, first published in 1917 by the Japanese ophthalmologist Shinobu Ishihara and still in use today.
Eric Kindel. 2006. ' Cheap jack flash', Eye, vol. 15, no. 60, Summer 2006, pp. 46–51
--. 2005. ' Ishihara', Eye, vol.14, no. 56, Summer 2005, pp. 18–23 ( republished 2008, in Dutch; reprised as ' The test of time', Eye, vol. 17, no. 68, Summer 2008, p.48)
--. 2004. ' Worlds of moiré', Eye, vol. 13, no. 52, Summer 2004, pp. 18–27
--. 2003. ' Hoofdletters ...', Eye, vol. 12, no. 47, Spring 2003, pp. 30–7
--. 2002. ' When 1+1=3', Eye, vol. 11, no. 43, Spring 2002, pp. 36–45
I also write book reviews periodically. Here's an example:
Eric Kindel. 2004. review of Coates, N., Guide to Ecstacity, Eye, vol. 14, no. 53, Autumn 2004
- Research groups / Centres: