The Fourth Estate is a publishers that many people will be familiar with. Founded by Victoria Barnsley in 1984, Fourth Estate built a reputation as one of the most innovative and eclectic imprints in the industry, with a reputation for publishing a wide variety of critically-acclaimed and beautifully-produced titles including many prize winning authors (Booker, Orange etc).
One of the things that made the Fourth Estate stand out from the crowd was their catalogues - they were simply amazing pieces of design and print! I was lucky enough to work on a few different catalogues in the late 90's and early 2000's. Every single one was different and brilliant. Good designers were comissioned, Bogue & Hopgood, Instinct, Rose Design, Frost, Neville Brody, Tom Hingston to name a few. In line with their reputation for publishing unconventional yet innovative titles, the design of the catalogue was equally eclectic.
This is one of the last catalogues I was involved with, designed by Tom Hingston Studio.
Here's the comment from Tom Hingston's website: "For our design of the Fourth Estate July-December 2003 catalogue we took inspiration from the aesthetic of an authors manuscript. This gave us the opportunity to explore the use of type as image, to illustrate each title in a way we felt appropriate for a books catalogue"
The job was printed in two colours by Wisbech based printers Balding & Mansell, who are now sadly defunct.
Victoria Barnsley, founder of Fourth Estate, joined Harper Collins as CEO and Publisher in 2000 when it acquired her company ( ...she did well!). These distinctive publications continued to be commissioned and produced for a few years after becoming part of a larger group. Sadly (and I guess it was just a matter of time) the Fourth Estate became a section within the homogenised Harper Collins catalogue and the individual publications ceased.