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In appreciation of the late Richard King

By March 11, 2008 No Comments

People come and go in our lives and each has a different significance for us. I cannot allow Richard’s sad departure to pass without my personal acknowledgement. Richard stands, with few others, in having inspired and trained me in the craft of books.

When I founded Egan-Reid Ltd over 20 years ago, only Ros Elworthy (later of Shoal Bay Press) had preceded me in the then-new field of digital typesetting of books. There was much to learn and no one to learn it from. So it was a relief and joy when Penguin Books introduced me to Richard King.

Back in those days design and typesetting were supplied separately.
Richard, with his marvellous eye and sense of balance of a page, had already created a name for himself as a, possibly “the’, superior book designer in New Zealand. His knowledge of type seemed limitless to me. His understanding that, without robust knowledge of typography all design is destined to fail, meant that he was able to make of the most straightforward page a thing of beauty.

Richard took me under his wing. He kindly and patiently explained what his eye saw. He showed me how changes of leading as subtle as fractions of a point could make the world of difference. He tutored me in understanding how for every font at every size there is a perfect measure. Balancing margins, spacing captions, the use of ligatures – I learned all these from Richard. And he nurtured my own enthusiasm and excitement about type. Richard seemed to genuinely rejoice in my growing maturity as an independent designer.

So, to you Richard, a big thank you. I think of you every time I am training one of our staff. Or when we open a bottle of fine whisky.
Your legacy lives on in every design that comes out of Pindar NZ.

Mary Egan