Porto Design Summer School



Jonathan Barnbrook – Guest tutor 2013

Since graduating in with distinction in graphic design from Saint Martin’s School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, Jonathan Barnbrook has developed a multifaceted practice that includes activism, graphic design, typeface design, industrial design and motion graphics. Barnbrook founded his design studio, Barnbrook Design in 1990. His typefaces were originally released through Californian innovators Emigre. In 2010, his most famous typeface ‘Mason’ released by Emigre became one of the first digital acquisitions of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Additionally his stone-carving is on permanent display of the 20th century gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 1997 he established his own font company VirusFonts, releasing well-known fonts such as ‘Bastard’ and ‘Tourette’. In 2007, his contribution to British graphic design was recognised with a major retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum in London entitled ‘Friendly Fire’. A monograph of his work ‘Barnbrook Bible’ was simultaneously published by Booth-Clibborn Editions. In 2008 he was given an honorary doctorate by Staffordshire University for services to typography. During 2009, the exhibition ‘Collateral Damage’ presented a retrospective of Jonathan Barnbrook’s more political design output, and travelled to multiple countries including France, Slovenia and Croatia.

Barnbrook believes design shapes the environment, changing the way we perceive things and informing our choices. In this sense, design is a ‘culturally valid form of expression’ with something to say. He also stated that he believes ‘design can change the world when it works in service of the right people and gets an issue on the mainstream political agenda’. In marking this responsibility, Barnbrook has art directed for the anti-corporate collective Adbusters. He participated in the First Things First 2000 Manifesto published in 1999, signed by graphic designers, students and photographers who proposed a reversal of priorities in the way graphic design was used commercially. He created a billboard in 2001 entitled ‘Designers, stay away from corporations that want you to lie for them’ – quoting influential American graphic designer Tibor Kalman publicising the manifesto. Barnbrook has also produced many copyright-free designs for political or social justice purposes.

Barnbrook has worked with a variety of clientele, from artists to selected commercial and non-commercial clients. He created complete graphic identities for major cultural institutions including the Mori Arts Center, Tokyo and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and has undertaken branding for the 17th Biennale of Sydney. He designed Noam Chomsky’s book cover, Doctrines and Visions (2005), David Bowie’s record cover Heathen (2002), the recently released 'white square' cover for The Next Day and has collaborated with artist Damien Hirst on his collectable monograph, I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now. (1997), which won a series of awards including the Art Directors Club of New York Gold Prize. The Tokyo Type Directors Club Non-Members Grand Prize. New York Type Directors Club, best in show. For his film work he has won two D&AD Awards, the Epica Grand Prix. Barnbrook was selected in the 10th Istanbul Biennale in 2007 and was an exhibiting artist at the 17th Biennale of Sydney.

Note: Jonathan will be present on the course during the first week.