Try AbeBooks Description Known for his revolutionary typefaces, Jonathan Barnbrook is the most sought after contemporary graphic designer working across a broad range of disciplines including graphic design, industrial design, typeface design and film. In this first book by and about him, The Barnbrook Bible features a great deal of never-before-seen work-much of which was created specifically for the book. Possibly best known as a result of his collaboration with major figures in the international art scene such as the Saatchi Gallery and Damien Hirst, Barnbrook has won numerous awards for motion graphics for his commercial film work. His most celebrated collaboration includes art directing Adbusters, the leading activist magazine. He also produces copyright-free work that highlights political and social injustices. Unafraid to express his political viewpoint, Barnbrook has garnered both praise and criticism for releasing subversive typefaces named in a confrontational manner, such as "Manson" after the serial killer that highlight the relationship of words to the letterforms that represent them.
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It is a page monograph bursting with dazzling refinement. But the Barnbrook Bible is more than a bit fat monograph. It therefore invites judgement by more demanding criteria than if it was just another design book. Barnbrook Bible, sample spread, The book avoids a conventional structure; instead it is a fast-flowing river of textual and visual rhetoric. He produces finely tooled graphic wizardry that distinguishes him from all other graphic designers at work today.
The spectre of religion hangs over this book. It is the flavour of gravestones in rural churchyards, of dusty prayer books and the vivid lustre of stained glass windows. This iconography links Barnbrook to a traditionalist view of Englishness that is increasingly rare in multicultural Britain, and more commonly associated with reactionary conservatism.
Barnbrook is a political radical: American foreign policy and global corporatism are his main targets. Most of this work is self-initiated and self-funded. Morphing Ronald MacDonald and Osama Bin Laden into a single iconic character is witty and diverting for about 3 seconds; although perhaps it has a higher purpose which is to infuriate corporate America and Al Qaeda supporters.
In the past, revolutionary and oppositional movements have distinguished themselves by shunning formal graphic design because of its links to political and corporate power, and turned instead to more anarchic modes of graphic expression. But Barnbrook brings the gloss and ultra-refinement of cosmetics advertising to the task of exposing U.
He writes engagingly about font creation, his discovery of film-based work, and the conduct of the modern designer. His chapter on working with Damien Hirst is a cracking read. I said earlier that this was a work of semi-autobiography. It is more accurately a work of "professional" autobiography, by which I mean that Barnbrook mainly confines his autobiographical observations to his work, and only fleetingly touches on personal matters.
Nevertheless, he opens himself up for critical scrutiny in the way that all good autobiographers do. This occasionally manifests itself as sourness and personal bitterness; his dismissive response to objections to the Manson typeface is a good example of this. Something of the dour moralist Alice Twemlow identifies it as a mixture of "anger, bitterness and melancholy" lingers in the pages of this book.
But something else also emerges: an inspirational notion of sacrifice and self-denial. Barnbrook could make a great deal of money if he harnessed his ability to aestheticize everything he touches. Had he wanted to, he could have launched himself as the supreme stylist of his generation.
Instead, he chose to follow his own path of dogged opposition to everything he despises. Barnbrook is a throwback to an almost medieval notion of ascetic denial. He just does it with enough graphic flair to fuel a small power station.
Barnbrook Bible : the graphic design of Jonathan Barnbrook
Barnbrook Bible: A Graphic Autobiography