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13 July 2009
The Prehistoric Peak

Andrew Johnstone started to work with Britain's prehistory as his subject matter in 2007, when he was accepted onto the MA Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London. It wasn't though, until 2008 that his intention became clear when he asked the question: How can graphic design be best used to communicate the modern experience of ancient British sites? So began the process of creating his book titled 'The Prehistoric Peak: A Guide to the Neolithic & Bronze Age Monuments of The Peak District National Park'.
     "I spent most of the summer of 2008 camping in The Peak District (England) in order to visit each ancient site and record it through photography, drawing sketchplans showing the layout of each site as it can be seen today, as well as writing directions on how to find each site, including GPS and Ordinance Survey coordinates. The directions would then relate closely to the maps I would later spend three months creating for each site," Mr Johnstone said. "I am neither an historian nor archaeologist, so the intention of this book is not to try and explain what they are or what was happening in the Peak District millennia ago. My intention is much simpler: it is to encourage people to go out there and see these places for what they are today, after all, they are often located in some of the most spectacular landscapes available to us today, which to me is reason enough," he added.
     In support of the main guide book - that looks extremely elegant and with a great graphic layout - Mr Johnstone went on to create a clever series of individual pocket guides. The thinking behind this is that not everyone would want to buy the complete book with all 73 sites, but may be at a visitor centre in The Peak District looking for something to do that day and so could pick up a complete guide to one site in order to discover for themselves an aspect of our prehistory. The third part to the work is a large format, coffee-table style photography book. The title, If this landscape is the doorway, is taken from a short poem the author wrote about the Neolithic chambered tomb Minninglow.
     Mr Johnstone is now currently seeking a publisher for the work in the hope of sharing his experiences with others. Beyond that, his dream is to then to expand the guide book into a series by featuring the sites of other areas of Britain. For further information, please visit www.andrewjohnstonedesign.co.uk or contact Mr Johnstone via email at commonera@gmail.com.
Source: Andrew Johnstone (8 July 2009)

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