15th March 2017
The Shoreditch Angel typeface is the result of a walk organised by Tower Block Books and the collective Moments Like This on 18th February 2017. Twenty-four participants captured, shared and traced the letterforms they found in the architecture of London E1 and N1. A risographed version of the poster will be available for sale at the East London Cominc and Illustration Festival in June!
Letter hunters included Amandine Alessandra, Rute Nieto Ferreira, Nuno Coelho,
Tom Spooner, Lizzy Hathaway-White, Noah Bier, Wolfram Borger, Richard Carter,
Eloise Crist, Simon Denzel, Nathania Hartley, Lizzy Hathaway-White, Torsten
Neeland, Colette Sadlier, Kim Scouller, Rachel & Tom Warr, Vassilis Karidis,
Konstantinos & Odysseas Karavellas, Alex Papanastasiou, Hicca Carryer, Robert
Shillcock and friends.
6th February 2017
Join us on a walking type workshop on Saturday the 18th February, an event organised with Moments Like This, a multi-disciplinary art and design practice curating convivial events as a way to generate research and outputs addressing environmental, social, cultural, political, and economic issues.
We will leave from Shoreditch Church at 11 am and walk our way through Hoxton across estates, victorian, georgian and vernacular architecture and new developments, looking for letters in the buildings around us.
Fellow walkers will be asked to share their finds on twitter with the hashtag #walkingtypeworkshop to later re-trace them and this way create a collective letterform.
16 December 2016
It seems like we’ve started something of a tradition: teaming up with a school and producing a riso-printed calendar with kids. Last year we worked with Columbia Primary School in East London, this year with Leonard Flynn in San Francisco. The calendar features pictures resulting from art workshops undertaken with the children – where we explored themes like pattern and colour, autumn trees, neighbourhood; and different techniques – line drawing, collage, finger printing and potato printing. The calendar is printed in two colours on a risograph (big thanks to Pinterest for letting us use theirs) which uses soy based inks. The paper is from sustainable sources and all money raised goes towards art supplies for the kids. The calendars were mostly sold to the school community, but we’re thrilled that the lovely local store Gravel & Gold also has some in stock. We have a small amount left to sell online. Have a colourful 2017!
23 July 2016
During the last year we have been busy working on another Big Letter Hunt book, this time with the good people at Batsford, an imprint of the Pavilion Books Group. As part of a series of conversations amongst ourselves and with senior editor Lucy Smith we shifted our walks west, two colours became three, and no words became some words. The result is here, or nearly here – it lands in UK bookshops tomorrow 14th July; we are very happy.
The process of working with an established publishing house was unknown to us. If The Big Letter Hunt in the East End of London was all about two people working together, two disciplines very often swapping hats, this central London book was about the relationship between us, authors, and the publishers. We had (sort of) managed the challenge of setting up our own publishing company, Tower Block Books, back in spring 2014, developing our idea from scratch, getting the book printed, (reprinted) and sold. Now we dreaded the letting go of ideas, quality, even roughness or whatever comes with experimentation (or is it naïvety). But editors, at least ours, proved to be, unlike the tyrants of our nightmares, clever, reasonable, accommodating people and we have to say the Big Letter Hunt: London feels very much a collaborative project. Our work didn’t stop with the idea and the photographs; it involved the design of the book, the selection of colours, the art working of the images, the words, even the map – the choice of the territory (bound by the Euston Road to the North, Hyde Park to the West, the Southbank to the South and the Barbican to the East) was a self-inflicted constraint. To us, it’s an honour that our playful letter hunting will be sharing a shelf with so many of Batsford’s amazing titles. We have to thank them for encouraging us to continue letter-hunting, and for allowing us to get this idea onto ( little and big) hands we would never manage to reach.
If you want to get your hands on a free copy post a picture on Twitter or Instagram of a Big Letter you have spotted anywhere in the world, tag it #bigletterhunt and you’ll go in the draw to grab a copy of The Big Letter Hunt: London. Winners will be announced next week.
25 May 2016
Life brought me to San Francisco, California and I found myself not resisting doing a session with kindergarteners at Rosa Parks Elementary School over by Japantown. The kids were, to use their words – awesome. What started off as a brilliant conversation about buildings – big and small, boring, interesting, weird and everything in between, ended up as a lively (read shouty and fierce) letter-hunting game. For a moment we forgot some of the things one learns in school, such as having to put your hand up to speak and that letters have to be neat. The six-yearolds carefully traced their letter-finds with a fluorescent marker onto black and white pictures. At the end we ordered our jumbled up A-Z – and even spotted some San Francisco images in the mix. Thank you for having me!
29 March 2016
The festival explores the notion of games: the ones you play on your own, in teams, on tables, under tables, on screens or in person.
A limited edition of Big Letter Hunt prints will also be available to purchase on the spot, and we’ll give a 5 minute talk on games on Friday afternoon, at 5pm.
1 – 3 April 2016,
15 December 2015
We are super happy to end 2015 with a collaboration between Columbia Primary School & Tower Block Books in the form of a limited edition 2016 calendar featuring patterns by every child at the Columbia Road School – from Nursery to Year 6.
They go for the tiny price of £5, all of which goes to Friends of Columbia, a group of parents and carers who organise fun activities and fundraising events which support the school.
There are only 10 in stock, grab then while you can! And until 15 December get the Big Letter Hunt and the Columbia Calendar for only £15! Subject to availability, get them from our shop.
6 July 2015
In honour of #childrensbookweek get The Big Letter Hunt for only £9.99 until Sunday 12 July! Use code: LOVEBOOKS
Book Trust, the largest reading charity in the UK, has been celebrating Children’s Book Week for 80 years. Congratulations to the amazing Shirley Hughs who is the winner of Book Trust’s first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.
15 May 2015
We made 60 special edition riso prints of our Big Letter Hunt alphabet – this time in orange and green – for an event at Columbia Primary School, which the children took home to trace. Discussing not-so-perfect letterforms with four and five yearolds who are themselves learning to write was great – we hope to do more of this!
15 May 2015
The other day we had the pleasure of joining over 50 Reception children at Columbia Primary School for a Big Letter Hunt carpet session (funnily enough the gabled roof of the school building was one of the first ‘A’ letterforms spotted last year when we were out on letter hunting walks).
This was a super fun event, where we showed lots of pictures of local streets and buildings from our catalogue of images that didn’t make it to the book. The children were incredible letter spotters – quick, engaged and the conversation about buildings was non-stop, as they had questions for us or things to say about some of the places pictured. Some of the children lived in the Lubetkin tower block very near the school, with its striking ‘C’ shapes on the façade.
Thanks for the picture, Yellow Room!
12 March 2015
You can now find The Big Letter Hunt at the Whitechapel Gallery Bookshop!
(And don’t forget to look for letters on the façade on your way in!)
Today is World Book Day!
To celebrate, The big Letter Hunt will be at £10 instead of £14 on our e-shop until Sunday midnight, with the code WORLDBOOKDAY.
Very happy to see The Big Letter Hunt amongst excellent company in two of Porto’s most exciting, young, independent bookshops. You can now get a copy from Loja Agu Agu (pictured), a wonderful shop and bookshop, selling prints, objects and a great selection of children’s books including international classics and recently published gems (you’ll no doubt spot the striking Planeta Tagerina‘s covers). The Big Letter hunt is also available from Circo de Ideias, a not for profit bookshop and publishing house specialising in architecture books and located in a shop unit in Siza’s Bairro da Bouça. We’re proud to be the first children’s book they stock!
Check out our stockists page.
To us… The Big Letter Hunt started exactly a year ago. The idea came a bit before, but it was on 6th January that the two of us really started thinking about it as a book. We had a great evening in Amandine’s flat and the next morning, luckily a beautifully sunny day, we went out walking and photographing for the first time together. We headed west from Bethnal Green, along Hackney Road and Shoreditch and made our way to the Barbican. The letters ‘i’ and ‘U’ that feature in the book are from that first trip, and so is ‘W’ on Moor Lane – which was an exciting find.
At that time, and for the next couple of months, we had no idea what the book was going to be like graphically. We were enjoying the walking and ‘hunting’ a great deal; we didn’t have a full alphabet until Spring, but had quite a few options for most letters (some tough decisions had to be made). At the end of the winter we got excited about risograph printing, and started talking to Hato, just down the road from us, who liked our idea and supported the first edition. The riso gave us limitations in terms of colours, look, method – which was great. We were off.
Tower Block Books was established in May and in early June we had a book. Leila kindly let us have a launch party at her café in Arnold Circus and local favourite independent bookshops – Broadway Books, Artwords, Victoria Park Books and Koenig Books at the Whitechapel Gallery – were keen to stock copies. Favourite blogs – Spitalfields Life, Grafik, Design Week, Creative Review and others seemed to like it too. By August we had sold out of the first edition. The summer got in the way and the second edition only arrived in October, with a children’s workshop at L’Entrepôt.
Twenty fourteen was a great year. Hello 2015, we have great plans for you too!
Amandine + Rute
This Christmas we would like some nice furniture by Opendesk.
Opendesk is an open source venture, facilitating beautifully simple, well made, sustainable plywood furniture by connecting designers with fabricators. In their own words: designed to be made locally all over the world. They have just moved into a sudio on Mentmore Terrace, London Fields, so you can drop in and hear it all from the lovely Joni Steiner and his colleagues.
The Geffrye Museum also stocks one of our favourite designs, the super cute and sturdy Edie stool.
Head to LORIS&LIVIA’s studio in Dalston this sunday 14th to snap up some very special prototypes
and samples and get tipsy on mulled wine. Giant lemon reamers (see above), revisited duralex classics and maybe (hopefully we should say) similar vases to the ones they designed for ACNE’s showrooms!
Venue: LORIS&LIVIA, Cell Studios F7, 23-27 Arcola Street, London E8 2DJ
Date: Sunday 14th December 2014, 2pm to 6pm
Tower Block Books would like to invite you to an exclusive sale!
We offer £4 off books and prints until Monday 1st December midnight
with the code EASTENDWISHLIST
+ free books to the first three letter hunters who send us C H R I S T M A S letter finds – from anywhere in the world!
Tweet us your big letter pictures @towerblockbooks
Happy letter hunting!
Amandine + Rute
When we went to Labour & Wait and asked them to show us an object with a story, we were told about this rope door stop, based on a nautical knot traditionally used to weight the end of the line
to throw it when mooring.
These are individually handmade by eighty year old knot enthusiast Des Pawson, with the assistance of his wife Liz. Des is a founding member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers,
and he is world-known and respected for his knowledge of knotting and rope work.
Not just any door stop.
More about it here.
85 Redchurch Street
London, E2 7DJ
This Christmas we want TODAY bread.
TODAY bread is designer-baker Alex Bettler turning up on his bike, delivering a freshly baked (often warm) loaf of bread, every week. And every week it’s a different loaf, and every week it comes with
a short story explaining the whys and hows of that particular loaf. We think a monthly membership
at £12 for four deliveries is the best thing since sliced bread, and it’s nice to know your baker.
Made & eaten in East London.
Every year around this time, Nothing But Navy pops up somewhere different in Shoreditch, selling exclusively navy lifestyle products by different brands and designers.
Navy blue letter badges (!) and rubber bands, handmade stationary, palladian dinnerware by CUSTHOM, Armor Lux woolies; we love the variety under the colour umbrella, but more than anything the eerie feel of the shop as you enter the inky blue wave.
Perfect weekend stroll destination (it’s only open until Monday eve!)
Nothing But Navy‘s pop up store is open today and tomorrow Monday 24th of November
In House, 67 Redchurch St, E2
The cold and the dark has got us thinking about Christmas. And gifts.
Preferably nice things made by nice people. And not too far away.
So over the next few days we will be sharing our favourite things from the neighbourhood.
Have you got any suggestions? We’d love to hear them @TowerBlockBooks #eastendwishlist
If we remove the function of recording and reading from the letters,
they too, are just shapes, and I guess our world is also full of other shapes
that are like letters.
So last Sunday was the launch of the second edition of The Big Letter Hunt (back on our webshop!).
We had also prepared various activities for young hunters: Letter Hunting in a book with Rute, Letter Hunting/coloring in large urban landscape photographs, and dressing up as letters with Amandine.
On Sunday the 26th, we are putting together a letter hunting workshop for children (age 3+) with Campfire Club at The Storeroom of L’ENTREPOT.
The letter hunt will follow a series of specially selected stories presented by Tulip Tuitt from
Guerrilla Bookshop around the ‘Campfire’.
We will also be launching the second edition of The Big Letter Hunt in the same afternoon,
and prints will be available for sale at a discounted price. Guerrilla Bookshop will also have a large selection of vintage children’s books and classics on hand for sale for more bedtime storytelling
for when you get home exhausted from all that letter hunting!
Campfire Club is part of Hackney With A Twist, a celebration of the pleasures of great books, film, wine and food, and offerings from artists who live and work in Hackney.
Find out more about all the exciting events at Hackney with a Twist at L’ENTREPOT here:
We hope to see you there!
CAMPFIRE CLUB – CHILDREN’S EVENT (ages 3+)
Sunday 26th October – 2-3pm
Tickets on the door, £5 per child, limited to 25 children
230 Dalston Lane, London E8 1LA
To celebrate Stereohype‘s 10th anniversary, we were invited to design a series of button badges inspired by the Big Letter Hunt.
The lot was featured in The FL@33-designed and curated exhibition Stereohype 2004–2014 that opened during London Design Festival 2014 and as part of ‘160’ – a series of exhibitions hosted
by the London College of Communication.
We hunted for new letters; you can have a pick between a Mile End block T, a Kingsland Rd Bridge N, a Shadwell E, or Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford, posing as a R for £1.50 each,
or splash out on the whole set for £5 and use them as perfect stocking fillers (never too early!).
Get them from there.
The summer is coming to an end and we’ve failed to thank all the lovely people and blogs that have reviewed The Big Letter Hunt in the last few weeks. Big thanks from us to Spitalfields Life, Grafik, Design Week and Creative Review!
Bl-nk is currently showing a large display of items made by Hackney-based makers and designers in its Cabinet of Things.
Nice venue, and great to see the Big Letter Hunt sitting in good company with familiar faces
from the hood: Courier Magazine, Five Points Brewing Company, Sarah & Sorrentino‘s (great silkies!), Dalston Cola, Sugru (most useful bit of blob ever!), our cool neighbours from Technology Will Save Us, and many more.
Well worth checking out if you are in the Old Street area; the display will be regularly freshened up.
Our web shop has re-opened today! Apologies for delays in sending out prints, they will be on their way from today.
For those of you who have pre-ordered the second edition of The Big Letter Hunt – A BIG THANK YOU! . . . and PLEASE BEAR WITH US! We aim to be posting your copies as soon as they are back from the printers at the beginning of September.
Thanks for your support! Keep tweeting us your letter-finds wherever you are @TowerBlockBooks #TheBigLetterHunt (the ‘A’s in the picture were spotted outside a wash house in Afife, Portugal)
It’s been a fantastic and fantastically busy few months. We’re happy to have sold out of the first edition of The Big Letter Hunt and happy to be able to re-print very shortly. Remember we are taking orders from our web shop and you will receive a free A-Z poster as a ‘thank you for waiting’. Or you can always try one of our stockists.
We are closing the shop for a couple of weeks – going letter hunting elsewhere (watch this space for updates!) – but looking forward to posting lots of prints and hopefully second edition books on our return.
Happy summer from us X
This afternoon we paid a quick visit to out wonderful printers Hato Press on Scawfell Street E2,
who are in the process of printing The Big Letter Hunt. This must be one the most exciting stages
in the process of making a book. Most of the pages were already printed and stacked up on shelves, only the ‘D’ and ‘W’ spreads left to do. Sophie worked on the risograph and I watched as it spat out a vibrant print; she checked it against the light for alignment and then lots of others followed. Tomorrow Hato will start binding the first copies, also in-house. We can’t wait to hold the finished book later in the week!
Come and get your first edition copy next Monday 7th July or email us to pre-order!
Can you spot letters in buildings on your bus ride or from the window by your desk?
Please share! @
Join us for our first book launch!
7th July 5 – 8pm
at Leila’s Café in Arnold Circus
15-17 Calvert Avenue, London E2 7JP
Kids and all welcome.
Signed and numbered copies at a reduced price.