Ravilious Initials

Circa 1927

Eric Ravilious is distinguished for his wood engravings, honoured for his watercolours and famed for his industrial designs. There is however one area of his work that is frequently over-looked: his endeavours at letterforms and typeface design. It was the Kynoch Press, Birmingham that gave Ravilious the opportunity to try his hand at type design. Created for the Kynoch Press somewhere between 1927 and 1929 Ravilious Initials were a series of curiously designed 48-point wood-letters with a decorative floral in-lay: they were strong yet whimsical and highly personable, irregularly proportioned but agreeable to the eye. It was a face as exotic and as bizarre as any foreign import and the Kynoch Press made very good occasional use of these characters. Ravilious had a commensurate interest in letterforms, and understood how to cut the Initials as individual characters but when the Initials were assembled into words his design is less than happy. The Initials were the only type that Ravilious cut either for the Kynoch Press or for anyone else.