After graduating (1975) and postgraduating (1979) from the Department of Typography at the University of Reading, he began to do ‘editorial typography’ (editing and design in one process) as well as write about typography. In 1980, while still living in Reading, he published the first book under the imprint of Hyphen Press. In 1982 he moved to London, did behind-the-scenes work for Pluto Press’s political atlases, and began to write journalism, especially for the magazine Blueprint in its golden period of the late 1980s.
Hyphen Press was started in order to publish a new and much extended edition of Norman Potter’s What is a designer, which had first appeared in 1969. This is a questioning, wide-ranging, but also down-to-earth book – and these are the qualities that have characterized much of the Hyphen Press list, which, although specialized, has much wider ramifications.
When his book Modern typography came out in 1992, this signalled the start of Hyphen Press as the full-time occupation that it became. Impatient with authors slow to complete promised works, he resorted to publishing his own words again in the books Unjustified texts (2002) and The transformer (2009).
In 2008 Hyphen Press started to publish music CDs by The Bach Players, a like-minded enterprise also working in London.
In autumn 2017 Hyphen Press published its last book, Christopher Wilson’s Richard Hollis designs for the Whitechapel. The twelfth and last CD by The Bach Players – Bach and before – was also issued then.
Since 2017, he continues to sell the Hyphen Press books and Bach Players CDs that are still in print, and deals with all the issues that attend the afterlife of any publication. He also continues to work for The Bach Players as designer and editor. And he is trying to get back to writing about books, their material production, and their effects.