14 January 2013

Jonathan Barnbrook

by Patrick Baglee, New York Editor

Jonathan Barnbrook

Jonathan Barnbrook is a thoughtful and eloquent proponent of graphic design as a powerful means of social change. Upon graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1990 he immediately set up his own studio and achieved widespread popularity designing highly personal typefaces that stemmed from his desire to take responsibility for the whole meaning and impact of a piece of graphic work.

Damien Hirst Monograph

Pharmacy restaurant logo

Pharmacy restaurant graphics

Fuse experimental poster for rattera font

Today, the studio’s work covers activism, graphic, typeface and industrial design and motion graphics with clients including John Foxx, White Cube, Damien Hirst, the British Heart Foundation and David Bowie. Barnbrook has designed the covers of the last three Bowie studio albums, ‘Heathen’, ‘Reality’ and ‘The Next Day’, as well as ‘Doctrine’, a new VirusFonts design.

Reality, David Bowie

The Next Day, David Bowie

Barnbrook’s work has been exhibited in solo shows in London, Paris, Tokyo and Seoul, including the retrospective ‘Friendly Fire’ at the Design Museum in 2007, followed in 2009 by  ‘Collateral Damage’, a show focused on his more political output.

Sydney Biennale identity

Barnbrook projects have been recognized by many organisations including the Art Directors Club of New York and the Tokyo Type Directors Club, although as a point principle he, and his studio, do not now enter awards competitions. His work has been described in several notable books including the ‘Barnbrook Bible’, and ‘Tomorrow’s Truth: The Graphic Agitation of Jonathan Barnbrook’.

The Barnbrook Bible

He is also remarkable in being one of the few people to have had a conversation with the author William Burroughs about the future of type design. Jonathan is left-handed and lives in London.