Inspired: Cathy Stuart – Victoria & Albert Museum

It’s always satisfying when things come full circle, especially when you least expect it. Graphics and text are, of course, intrinsically related. A beautifully set piece of type can have all the aesthetic kick of a painting, and a clever and witty font just the same appeal as a dynamic illustration.

My first typewriter was handed down from my father and was a towering edifice of ebony and ivory, weighing in at about half a ton. As a 16-year-old graphics student, I used to bash out furious teenage stories on its metallic keys, creating an impression to my parents of pleasing clerical productivity – if the crazy design dream didn’t work out, at least I would have typing to fall back on. There was something timelessly satisfying about the way the long keys flew up to hit the paper, no imprint the same, every one a little work of art.

Working at the Victoria & Albert Museum, I am surrounded by more gorgeous, inspiring and significant objects than you could ever hope to get to know.

But if I need to check in with my teenage self, I spend a little quality time with the 1969 Olivetti Valentine typewriter that sits proudly in the same space as Christine Keeler’s chair and the iPad.

Latest articles