Jonathan Barnbrook,
type designer

Since 1990, London-based Barnbrook Design has been producing innovative work that combines a mixture of typographic structure, politics and irony. The studio, which chooses to remain small, and works on projects without worrying about "bringing in the money," has created such fonts as Mason and Exocet for Emigre, plus others released through Barnbrook's own font foundry, Virus. Barnbrook has collaborated with contemporary artists, including the much-acclaimed Damien Hirst on the monograph I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere with everyone, one to one always, forever now. Currently the studio is preoccupied with work that questions the critical role of graphic design in society, including work with Adbusters and specially commissioned pieces of graphic authorship.

Language is a Virus
Through examples of his own typefaces such as Mason and Exocet, Prozac (for simplifying meaning), Nixon (for lying with) and Drone (for text without content), Jonathan Barnbrook will explain why it is necessary to continue to produce fonts that can uniquely speak in the voice of a zeitgeist, even though there are thousands already in existence. Barnbrook will also address the complex process of naming a font. It used to be that a designer would use his or her surname to label a life's work. Now it has come to the point where producing a font is so simple that its identification is analogous to the naming of a pop song or a painting. If he has time, he will explain the importance of the history of typography when drawing contemporary fonts and the connection between Eric Gill's curious relationship with the canine species and letterform design.

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