Born in Darlington Kitching became an apprentice compositor with a local letterpress printer fours days after his fifteenth birthday. In 1962 he moved south to pursue a career in design. Alan subsequently established his own design practice, taught at the Central School of Art, and was invited by Derek Birdsall RDI, to join the Omnific Design Partnership. In 1988 Alan became a visiting lecturer in typography at the Royal College of Art, London. The following year the decision was made to return to his letterpress roots and The Typography Workshop was launched in 1989.