London Typographical Designers Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of an almost complete run of working papers and specimens together with some account books.

Administrative / Biographical History

The firm of London Typographical Designers was started in 1945 by four men who had worked together during the war in the Ministry of Information and who shared the view that writers and designers should enjoy direct access to their clients. Beric Young, an artist, Oliver Burridge, a master printer, and Leon French and William Morgan, both typographers, each contributed 25 to start the business. They began in a rented room in Ebury Street, Victoria, writing letters on a borrowed typewriter and keeping in touch with their clients through the telephone box in the street outside. They advertised their services once only and from there the business built up steadily by word of mouth. As well as one-off assignments LTD were retained by many large companies, among them John Laing, Marconi, Bowater, British Oxygen, Mobil oil, and Cliffords Dairies.

After a few years Oliver Burridge left to revive his family printing business and George 'Tommy' Thompson brought his financial and administrative skills to the firm, purchasing a quarter of the equity and joining the board in 1948. He introduced the system of work records with job specimens which LTD continued for next 25 years.

Each numbered job sheet was filed away in a packet, with examples of artwork, proofs, estimates and copies of invoices. In a separate sequence up to a dozen copies of the finished product were kept. Through these records it is possible to follow the design processes involved in a great variety of items such as a full set of menus, lists, notices, trade cards and posters designed for a restaurant built on the South Bank for the Festival of Britain, a factory signboard, a brochure for Moss Bros, a company magazine, Christmas cards, concert programmes, cheques and many more. LTD would only undertake work that they could see through all the processes that go to make up the finished printed job. They believed that only in this way was it possible to produce first class work.

Of the founders of the firm Beric Young died in 1959, Leon French retired at 60 in 1970 and William Morgan retired at 65 in 1976, although he remained a consultant until his death ten years later. Another important influence on the firm was Ken Sewell who joined in 1953 and was responsible for printing production. He became a director in 1965 and Chairman in 1976. London Typographical Designers now trades under the name of LTD Design Consultants.

Conditions Governing Access

Access conditions: Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check www.reading.ac.uk/special-collections/using/sc-using.asp for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

On permanent loan from William Morgan, 1977, 1985

Note

This description was written by Gil Skidmore

Other Finding Aids

A chronological list of job files is available in the archives reading room