A river runs through it

Signbox & the Graphic History Company deliver stunning Thames mural made up of 3,500 iconic author names for book publisher Hachette UK

Winner 2017 FESPA Gold Award

Carmelite House which sits on the north bank of the River Thames, with stunning views across the river and over London, has been home for just over a year to the book publishing group Hachette UK. The mural, which was commissioned earlier this year and unveiled this week comprises the names of 3,500 authors published by Hachette UK and will grow each year as the names of authors new to the publishing group are added.

Hachette UK Communications Director Clare Harington, explains: “Last year, the publishing companies that comprise Hachette UK moved from separate London offices to Carmelite House, a landmark London building on the Thames, coming together under one roof for the first time. We commissioned the mural to celebrate our combined, distinguished publishing history and our beautiful new building. 3,500 authors, selected from over 55,000 published since 1768, the year John Murray was founded, by houses that are now part of Hachette UK, are featured in the mural.”

Ms Harington continues: “This stunning mural, running right through our building, demonstrates our pride in our authors and in our history. The Graphic History Company has created a magical way to tell our story. The production of the mural was a mammoth undertaking, but it has been a joy working with The Graphic History Company, with artist Kate Forrester, and with Signbox who handled the production and installation aspects of the project. They all understood our unique requirements and the end result is a work of art that not only represents who we are, but is the crowning glory in our beautiful building.”

Emma Pike, founder, The Graphic History Company adds: “The story of Hachette UK is the story of its authors. We began by researching the names of every author ever published from 1768 to the present day – over 55,000 of them! This was too many to include in a meaningful way so the next task was working closely with Hachette to prioritise the list to a more manageable 3,500. We then arranged them chronologically by decade and colour coded each name its individual publisher to reflecting the federal structure of the company. We wanted to celebrate the art of writing so we commissioned illustrator Kate Forrester to draw each name by hand.”

The final work is an enormous and bold “river of authors”, a flowing representation of the mighty River Thames that runs by Hachette’s new home.

“We are very proud of our concept and design,” Ms Pike continues. “We needed the production and installation to be of the same high standard. Signbox had been personally recommended to me and I was impressed by their expertise and professionalism.”

Says Mark Bartlett, Managing Director at Signbox: “This has been a challenging and rewarding project throughout both the production and installation phases, as we needed to ensure the highest possible quality finished product within a tight timeframe. The core deliverable – the flagship Thames mural – we digitally printed using our new HP Latex 360 printers, on Class O fire retardant LG 3880 high tack vinyl – approximately 450 linear metres of it in total. The vinyl was then matt laminated, CAD-cut and weeded for application.

“The installation process posed challenges of its own – with work needing to be completed over just two weekends. Choosing the right products for adhesion to acid-etched glass and preparing the surfaces was key to a successful delivery. We’re delighted with the end result and we look forward to partnering with both The Graphic History Company and Hachette UK again in the future.”