Q&A: Francis Atterbury Partner, Hurtwood Press

By Jo Francis, Monday 29 September 2014

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Francis was, literally, born into the industry. Having swerved a potential career in house sales, he has worked in print for over 35 years and now heads up print and book production consultancy Hurtwood together with wife and business partner Jo Hilton.

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When not obsessing over paper grain direction he might be found cycling (touring, not racing). He’s making a second appearance in this issue (see PrintWeek Awards judges sharing their views on p14).

What is your nickname? 

Frank, well that’s all I’m saying. You’ll need to ask Pureprint’s Richard Osborne for the school nickname

Why did you get into printing? 

Family National Service. My father ran Westerham Press and after I’d failed estate agent training (how hard can that be?) he said he could get me into the London College of Printing while I worked out what I wanted to do. It turned out I wanted to be a printer. Who knew?

What would be your dream job?

I’m in it really

Who would play you in a movie?

Dustin Hoffman, obviously. Did you see Rain Man?

What is your dream bit of kit?

Charlton Athletic away strip from our last season in League 1, such a pretty blue. Or… a composing stick and a case of type. Very relaxing

What would you most like to print?

I’m doing it all the time. As you get to know an artist, their book becomes a dream job

What is your favourite film?

Groundhog Day. Who doesn’t warm to the idea of redemption

What is your favourite TV programme?

At the moment, it’s The Great British Bake Off, but I don’t watch a lot

Who or what do you hate the most?

Badly made tea

Who do you admire most in the industry? 

James Shand. He believed that it was our job to print everything to the best of our ability, from a bus ticket to a Royal Order of Service

What is your favourite saying?

No good deed goes unpunished

What is your favourite album?

What’s an album?

What is your greatest ambition?

To make printers and binders demand the correct grain direction in their paper!

What’s your greatest fear?

That no one’s really interested in my ambition (above)

Who or what makes you laugh?

Loads of stuff. But at the moment it’s David Sedaris

Most embarrassing moment?

There have been so many

What’s your worst fashion disaster?

You know me. How can you even ask?!

Which superpower would you like to have?

Control of time itself! [said in a dramatic way]

What is the worst kind of print?

The thoughtless kind

How would you like to be remembered?

It’s unlikely that will happen

What was your childhood obsession?

Making jewellery

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