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Professor Ewan Clayton

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Professor of Design

The experience that I contribute to design comes from my regular ‘day job’ as a calligrapher and lettering artist. I am a part-time professor, writer, and thinker about the future and history of writing in a digital age.

I have had very contrasting experiences that have contributed to this interest which range from living as a Benedictine monk for several years to working as a consultant to Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Laboratory in California. Xerox PARC is the research lab that developed the concept of Windows, the look and feel of the interactive graphical user interface, the Ethernet, and the laser printer amongst many other key aspects of our digital environment.

My book on the history of writing The Golden Thread was published by Atlantic in 2013 and has been translated into several other languages. I am also interested in the practice of craftsmanship and this is the main focus of my current research.

Teaching and supervision

My teaching is mostly delivered in the form of lectures across the course or as help for students with specific projects.

Research interests for potential research students

Graphics, design history, calligraphy and typography, craftsmanship and skill.


Number of items: 30.


Clayton, Ewan (2021) The virtual and the real. Digital culture and the body in the study of handwriting. Open Information Science, 5 (1). pp. 11-26. ISSN 2451-1781

Clayton, Ewan (2019) Where did writing begin? The British Library Website.

Clayton, Ewan (2019) Why did humans start writing? The British Library Website.

Clayton, Ewan (2019) A brief history of writing materials and technologies. The British Library Website.

Clayton, Ewan (2019) The evolution of the alphabet. The British Library Website.

Clayton, Ewan (2019) The evolution of writing – 5000 BC to today. The British Library Website.

Clayton, Ewan (2016) Impressions from Ditchling. Via Pulchritudinis: Fine Handpress Printing in the Dominican Tradition. pp. 29-39. ISSN 978-0-9979982-0-7

Clayton, Ewan (2015) Clayton, Ewan (2015) Primary Text commentary, ‘Visiting Edward Johgnston’. The Journal of Modern Craft (8-3). pp. 373-383. The Journal of Modern Craft, 8 (3). pp. 373-383. ISSN 1749-6772

Clayton, Ewan (2015) ‘Visiting Edward Johnston: commentary on a primary text’. The Journal of Modern Craft, 8 (3). pp. 383-389. ISSN 1749-6772

Clayton, Ewan (2009) Hans-Joachim Burgert. The Scribe (87). pp. 24-28.

Book Section

Clayton, Ewan (2017) John Baskerville the Writing Master: Calligraphy and Type in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. In: John Baskerville: Art and Industry in the Enlightenment. Eighteenth-Century Worlds (7). University of Liverpool Press, Liverpool, pp. 113-133. ISBN 9781786940643

Clayton, Ewan (2013) Edward Johnston: Appearing in Tipografía Laitinoamericana. In: Tipografía Laitinoamericana. Wolkowicz Editores, South America, pp. 32-43. ISBN 978-987-28453-3-9

Clayton, Ewan (2012) ‘The Burgert Handpresse’ in BIBLIOLOGIA
 An International Journal of Bibliography, Library Science, History of Typography and the Book. In: BIBLIOLOGIA
 An International Journal of Bibliography, Library Science, History of Typography and the Book. Fabrizio Serra editore, Pisa-Rome, pp. 177-194. ISBN 1824-7733

Clayton, Ewan (2006) Workspaces for Writing. In: Pen in Hand: Medieval Scribal Portraits, Colophons and Tools. Red Gull Press, Walkern. ISBN 9780955370212

Conference or Workshop Item

Clayton, Ewan (2014) The Golden Thread- talk at Literary festival. In: Ways with Words, March 2014, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. (Unpublished)

Clayton, Ewan (2014) Does Handwriting Matter? In: Does Handwriting Matter?, January 22nd 2014, St Bride Foundation, London. (Unpublished)

Ling, Manny and Clayton, Ewan (2011) "Working with the Text" Writing 2011 International Calligraphy Symposium. In: Writing Symposium 2011, 24th-30th July, University of Sunderland. (Submitted)


Clayton, Ewan (2019) Writing: Making Your Mark. British Library Publishing, London. ISBN 9780712352482

Clayton, Ewan (2013) The Golden Thread: The Story of Writing. Atlantic Books, London, England. ISBN 9781848873629

Clayton, Ewan (2009) Art and Memory: new perspectives on memorial art. The Memorial Arts Charity, Snape, Suffolk. ISBN 978-0-9515711-5-6


Clayton, Ewan (2014) In Parenthesis by David Jones. [Artefact]


Clayton, Ewan (2019) Writing: Making Your Mark. The British Library, 26 Apr-27 Aug 2019, London, UK.

Collier, Mike (2016) Wordsworth and Bashō: Walking Poets. 17 Sep - 3 Nov 2016, Kakimori Bunko, Itami, Japan.

Collier, Mike (2014) Wordsworth and Bashō: Walking Poets. 24 May - 2 Nov 2014, Dove Cottage, The Wordsworth Trust Museum Grasmere.

Collier, Mike, Clayton, Ewan, Cockburn, Ken, cowton, Jeff, Flint-Sato, Christine, Kunial, Zaffar, Kono, Eiichi, Ling, Manny, Mchugh, Chris, Monta, Nobuya, Panneels, Inge, Richardson, Andrew, Sakamoto, Nao, Skelton, Richard, Richardson, Autumn, Tani, Ayako, Thompson, Brian and Mckay, Carol (2014) Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets. May - Nov 2014, Dove Cottage: The Wordsworth Museum.

Clayton, Ewan (2010) La Poetica Dello Spazio Scritto -The Poetics of Written Space. La Poetica dello Spazio Scritto, 2 October -31 October 2010, Venice, Italy.

Clayton, Ewan (2005) The Twain Shall Meet. , Alhambra National Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan..

Clayton, Ewan (2001) Spring Lines, Contemporary Calligraphy East and West. , Princes Foundation, London; Ditchling Museum, Sussex, UK.


Clayton, Ewan (2019) Writing: Making Your Mark [Research portfolio]. The British Library, London, UK.

Ling, Manny and Clayton, Ewan (2009) "Lines of Continuity" Writing 2009 International Calligraphy Symposium. The University of Sunderland, The University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Sat Dec 2 05:08:16 2023 GMT.

Last updated 30 November 2023