Beatles’ ‘Kite’ Soars to Letterpress

The Beatles released their Abbey Road album and everybody wanted to walk the zebra crossing on the cover. They enthused over “Strawberry Fields,” and lo thousands set out in search of those fields. And in 1967, John Lennon penned an ode to a 19th century circus poster called “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” and now, thanks to one dedicated fan, you can own a letterpressed reproduction of that very same sheet.

“As a lifelong Beatles fan, I found myself simply wanting to hang a copy of this poster on my wall,” writes Peter Dean. “As a designer, however, I couldn’t accept the many poor imitations I found – all of which use jarringly incorrect fonts (like Futura and Helvetica) and low-quality copies-of-copies of the illustrations.”

A true design nerd, Dean enlisted the aid of wood-engraving artist Andy English to reproduce the illustrations, and the Victorian type and letterpress knowledge of New North Press’ Graham Bignell, all to create a beautiful reproduction of the poster that hung on Lennon’s music room wall.

“Every effort has been made to be true to the original poster and it is printed using the same methods that would have been used in 1843,” Dean writes. “Every single print in this limited edition is individually inked and hand-pulled on a vintage Albion press.”

Once you see the stylish short film about the project made by Nick Esdaile and Joe Fellows, you’ll understand the £245 ($393) price tag.

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