The Dab Hand

The Dab Hand by Amy McArthur

This is a newspaper called The Dab Hand, designed by Amy McArthur, a final year Design for Visual Communication student at the University of Ulster, Belfast. As well as being beautifully designed it’s been hand-stitched to tear into two parts. We asked Amy to tell us a bit more about it:

The Dab Hand by Amy McArthur

The brief

The brief was to create a concept for the branding of a typographically themed restaurant. I decided to focus on early typography–the era of moveable type, compositors and printing workshops.

The Dab Hand by Amy McArthur

The restaurant name

‘The Dab Hand’ has the obvious meaning of someone highly skilled in a certain area; an expert. The name connotes quality and a commitment to excellence however it also contains a reference to type as it is said to originate from the early years of printing presses. The man who applied the ink to the wooden or metal type used an instrument known as a ‘dab’ and became known as ‘The Dab Hand’.

The newspaper

From my research emerged many similarities between food and early type—the craftsmanship, the process of perfecting and refining, the design element involved, the tactile nature of them both, the passion of those who are engaged in them and the language used to describe both food and type. I wanted to emphasise this relationship and establish ‘The Dab Hand’ as the place where the craft of cooking and the craft of typography converge.

The Dab Hand by Amy McArthur

I produced a menu that doubles up as a promotional publication for the restaurant, providing diners with something to peruse while waiting on their meal. It is printed on newsprint, as this is what was most commonly printed in the early days of printing. It is large format in order to increase its visual impact and maximise how the reader engages with it. Printed black on white, it references the ‘Pica’— the first English book to be printed in York, which was named after a magpie because of its colour scheme. Throughout the newspaper I have highlighted words that have meanings both in the sphere of cooking and also in the sphere of typography.

Cooking and early ‘hot type’ are both hands-on activities and so I wanted to engage the audience and design an experiential publication. Firstly by having the reader tear into the newspaper, almost like the preparation of food, and then by appealing to them through their senses—taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell through the content. The stitching was done on a standard sewing machine and took plenty of practice!

Lovely work Amy! Thank you for printing with us. More photos are available on Amy’s website.

Posted by Anne | Comments Off on The Dab Hand

Filed under: case studies, design, food, newspaper crafts, students, typography

Bank holiday opening


With so many bank holidays coming up in April and May we thought we’d better mention what this means for orders and deliveries.

In one sense, we never close. Our website is open 24/7, so ARTHR will be working tirelessly to make those papers. In another sense, the humans who also work tirelessly to make those papers will be having a day off. So, on the following days our support staff won’t be available and there won’t be any deliveries.

  • Friday 22 April
  • Monday 25 April
  • Friday 29 April
  • Monday 2 May
  • Monday 30 May

As most of our printing is done from Tuesday to Thursday we’re hoping that this won’t cause too much disruption. Deliveries might take slightly longer over any holiday weekends so if you are thinking of printing something around these times and need your order for a specific date do let us know in advance. Otherwise it’s busy-ness as usual.

Posted by Anne | Comments Off on Bank holiday opening

Filed under: news and press

Newspaper Club does more in the US (much more, really)


That was the headline I wanted. But we debated it and decided it wasn’t quite right. In fact, can one describe doing more in any market nowadays as a true launch? I mean, the web is everywhere so you’ve already launched pretty much everywhere from the time you upload your site and arrange for your carrier to deliver worldwide. And perhaps a true, full-blown, honest-to-goodness US launch should involve having a US-made product (we’re still printing in the UK, as it’s so competitive)?

So let’s say we’re doing more in the US as of last weekend. Much more.

What more? Well, we have a new US-friendly domain. This means people in the US – for the first time, ever (as far as we know) – can order digitally-printed newspapers in runs as low as 5 copies, get them delivered to their home or work address, and do this in good old greenbacks.

We also believe our US offer of larger runs using traditional newspaper presses – from the ridiculously low 300 copies upwards – is incredibly competitive. First, you’ll probably struggle to persuade a printer to do a run of fewer than a 1000 copies. Second, we think we’re very reasonably priced.

So. Da-da! Lady-in-hat-crashes-bottle-against-hull-as-the-band-plays. Sort of.

Posted by Gareth | Comments (3)

Filed under: news and press

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