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Richard Hollis, Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey - Ways of working

Richard Hollis, Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey - Ways of working

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About the book

his book, titled Ways of Working, starts from an article in the 5th issue of Dot Dot Dot (April 2003). Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey, a British graphic designer, contributed an article to the 5th issue of Dot Dot Dot, in which he participated as a co-publisher and designer. The title was “Way of Working”. It was an introduction to four books designed by British graphic designer and design writer Richard Hollis over a period of 10 years from the 1970s to the 1980s. This essay was a detailed observation of 'Richard Hollis Book Design' by a designer who experienced a different time period than Hollis, with a time difference between the era of paste-up work and the era of digital design. This insightful essay is now reproduced in the book Ways of Working compiled with a new essay by Richard Hollis titled “The Audio-visual Page”, where Hollis recalls the four books he designed with the keyword ‘audio-visual’.

The subjects of these two essays are four books designed by Hollis: Ways of Seeing(1972), A Seventh Man(1975), Godard: Image, Sound, Politics(1980) and Humphrey Jennings: Film-maker, Painter, Poet(1982). The first two books are books by John Berger and were published by Yeolhwadang and Noonbit, respectively, in Korea, and the other two have not been translated. In the hope that the book under discussion can be fully observed and savored from a design point of view, book spreads were scanned in actual size, except for the book Humphrey Jennings: Filmmaker, Painter, Poet.

In the middle of this book, a stapled 16-page yellow sheet is inserted, which is “Book Design by Richard Hollis through the Lens of Translation” written by Korean book designer Dongshin Kim. As an invitation to the 'conversation' between the two previous authors, Kim’s essay gives a 'third person's perspective' comparing the Korean version of Ways of Seeing and The 7th Man with the first English version designed by Hollis and discusses the possibility of 'translation of book design'.

As Bertolotti-Bailey pointed out, these books are prints from 40 to 50 years ago. However, they are interesting examples of how the image and the text, the two types of information channels, interact with each other in the space called ‘book’. Overall, the topic is still relevant in relation to today’s multimedia digital environment.

Lastly, by publishing The Ways of Working, Aprilsnow Press tried to understand John Berger in a 'slightly different way'. John Berger is one of the most well-known foreign authors in Korea, as well as a widely read author. However, most of the understanding about him was focused on the contents of his writings, and as a result, little is known about the unique storytelling method he attempted in the book or his collaboration with designer and photographer. Hopefully, the book Ways of Working serves as another way of seeing John Berger.

From the book

The book version, made by an eccentric team of Berger’s acquaintances, including Hollis as designer, demonstrates the fruition of ideas bubbling under in Berger’s earlier publications. The book proper begins already on the cover, flagging at once its maverick character and outspoken point of view. This is reinforced by a number of obtuse image-only chapters, and emphatically ragged-right blocks of non-hyphenated bold type, broken and positioned to emphasize meaning. Images appear precisely where they are mentioned within the text, their size determined by first aligning the left edge on the large text indent, then centering, which reinforces the equal status of verbal and pictorial elements; the idea being that printed text and image should approximate to Berger’s voice-over in the TV episodes, akin to the act of scrolling through a length of film while listening to the soundtrack.

- from “Way of Working” by Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey

There is a strong sense of mutual trust between Hollis and the various authors and editors involved in the four books. This trail of work developed because the commissioning parties in each case had recognized Hollis’s previous work and interest. In each case a relationship was established on the basis of his approach, and because of this implicit understanding, the shared wavelength, the end product ends up greater than the sum of its constituent contributors. An intense working relationship results from a joint search for the best means of communicating ideas, through familiarity with the subject matter and the author’s relation to it. Rather than the books being editor- or designer-led, they push for a third, uncharted way.

- from “Way of Working” by Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey

Ways of Seeing followed the same method, although it was printed offset and the text was photoset. Again, there was no grid to control the horizontal placing of images. The large paragraph indent was used as a guide for placing the left-hand edge of the images, so that they appeared more or less centred in the type area. This mixed symmetry (type centred on the cover and images) with asymmetry (a ranged-left unjustified column). There was a repeated position for the top of the x-height aligned with the first line of a chapter and the top of the first image. These principles were established on the cover.

- from “The Audio-visual Page” by Richard Hollis

The mixed symmetry and asymmetry of the front cover was a foretaste of the relaxed discipline of the typography, a feature common to the four books.

- from “The Audio-visual Page” by Richard Hollis

 Some may find this text less than easy reading. However, to be clear, the facts mentioned above do not imply that the Roman alphabet is superior nor that Hangul bears some typographic disadvantage. What is important is that the points where literal translation is impossible may turn out to be a starting point for unconventional design and genuine dynamic equivalence. The Korean edition of Ways of Seeing ensured conformity to the contents by reproducing sequences of the original. But other formal properties were eliminated in the process of translation and the final outcome turned out to be a partial success. A question to raise now is how we should deal with text that requires translation of design. One may ask how to secure readability, while not being haunted by conventions, and maintain the aesthetic pleasure of the original text.  

- from “Book Design by Richard Hollis through the Lens of Translation” by Dongshin Kim


Richard Hollis has been a freelance designer since 1957. Trained and taught at London art schools. Worked as artists’ printer, as publicity designer in Paris, magazine art editor, book designer, production manager, publisher. Teacher and lecturer in design schools in Britain and Europe. Touring retrospective exhibition, London 2012–2013. Author of Graphic Design: A Concise History, Swiss Graphic Design, About Graphic Design, and Henry van de Velde: The Artist as Designer

Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey is a freelance graphic designer, writer and publisher who currently lives in Scotland and works as Head of Design at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He co-founded the left-field arts journal Dot Dot Dot in 2000, is one half of the design duo Dexter Sinister, and a quarter of archiving/publishing platform The Serving Library.


Dongshin Kim runs a personal design studio and small press called Dongshinsa and is engaged in various activities such as designing, curating, writing and lecturing. Kim has designed books such as History and History(2018), Love of this Era(2020), Olympic Effect: Korean Architecture and Design from 1980s to 1990s(2021). Since 2015, she's been working on her own publishing project called ‘Index Card Index’ series. In 2018 and 2019, she was the curator and artist of the exhibition 'Open Recent Graphic Design', which explores and records contemporary graphic design.

Text by Richard Hollis, Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey
Essay contribution by Dongshin Kim
English translation by Angelina-Gieun Lee
Korean translation by Hyunsong Lee, Kay Jun
Published in June 2021
2nd edition printed in March 2023
Edition of 500
176 pgs
195(w) x 280(h) x 10(d)mm
Sewn ota-bind
Concept and editing by Kay Jun
Book design by Jeong Jaewan
Printed and bound by KB Printing
ISBN 979-11-89478-05-6 (03600)

© Aprilsnow

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