World Wide Working

As we all come to terms with the ‘new normal’, I find myself somehow busier than ever with calls and video meetings. This time to talk and to plan is exciting but, with the cancellation of so many art events and exhibitions, our upcoming work is being pushed further and further into the future. This change has made me reflect on how much, and yet how little, has actually changed; despite our perception of a huge seismic shift in working practice.


Virtual working – world wide.

We’re using this time to catch up and update our website and I decided to write a piece about one of our biggest and most successful books.

Spider Lake was named ‘Book of the Year’ at the British Book Design & Production Awards just over a year ago. The concept was developed between myself and the client and it was designed by Billie Temple Design following long and (often) enjoyable conversations with everyone involved. A prototype was made and examined and the production was tweaked, new techniques were developed and the book was made and delivered to the client.

However, throughout all of this, no one actually met up in person.

How was it done?

Our client, Eszter Matheson (of lifestyle photographers Eszter& David), is based in Los Angeles and sent a contact form after finding Hurtwood on Google. I called her back using the telephone (remember that?) and we talked and became enthusiastic together. We made the introduction to designer Billie Temple over FaceTime and each time Eszter mentioned a book she loved, Billie reached behind her and pulled it out from her bookcase. A marriage made in Heaven.

Billie and Eszter spent hours online discussing layouts and techniques before sending Hurtwood the files to develop into artwork. We created prototypes which were sent electronically to Pureprint to be printed and sent onward to our bindery in Shropshire. The prototype came back to London and a video went to California.

I could go on, but you get the picture!

The point is that ‘That Book: Spider Lake’ could easily have been made during the current lockdown. We collaborated with clients who became friends and, until we all became tired and emotional together at the award ceremony, we’d barely met.

At the moment, we can’t leave the house: but is work really so different?

Words: Francis Atterbury

See more of the book in our portfolio.