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Peter Burnhill

Peter Burnhill (1922–2007) was a typographer, artist, and teacher. In 1965 he was part of the group that set up and then ran the course in typography at Stafford College of Art and Design (UK). This was dedicated to a more fundamental and practical approach to education than was common, then or since. Through the 1960s and 1970s he participated in a number of attempts to reform typography in Britain, including the Typographers’ Computer Working Group (from 1965), and the Working Party on Typographic Teaching (from 1966). With the psychologist James Hartley, he wrote and published articles in the Journal of Typographic Research and Visible Language.


Large 053 ts

Type spaces: in-house norms in the typography of Aldus Manutius

The books of Aldus Manutius possess an enduring appeal, for their sense of order and visual-semantic structure. After intensive examination of some Aldine books, Burnhill proposes a hypothesis about the co-ordination of the dimensions in type in this printing. It seems that a system of typographic measurement informed this work, two hundred years before such a system was made explicit in printing.

This book, first published in 2003, has been out of print for several years. We are now making it available again as a pdf file (15 MB), free to download. Proceed through the purchasing process, and you will then receive an email that gives you a link with which you can download the ‘Type spaces’ pdf file.

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The memory lingers on

Large poster 1983 whole


This poster by Peter Burnhill has emerged from a tidy-up in the office. It’s a nice example of his talents as an artist, and of his activity as a political campaigner. Peter worked for his local, Stafford branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, helping to run a weekly CND stall in the town. This was at the time of Cold War escalation, with the installation of US missiles in Europe. Read more