Jonathan Barnbrook’s typographic viruses

February 9, 2009

I have this personal project, you know… I call it ‘breaking up Sunday’… On Sundays there is always a strange atmosphere, kinda sleepy, but culminating from inside… because people are becoming aware that the weekend is almost over…

So, I like to ‘break up’ this atmosphere by doing something that would cheer me up. Sunday – one week ago,  was great in that sense, coz I went to see Jonathan Barnbrook’s exhibition Collateral Damage. That was my Prozac for the weekend (and Monday morning)…

jb6.jpgRosama Mcladen by J. Barnbrook (c)

‘Collateral Damage’ is his collection of posters, logos and fonts which focuses on his artworkz in the past 15 years.

Barnbrook’s sensibility to create a sort of dictionary for typography is the thing that particularly turnz me on in his work. His sets of types are created as collections of different vocabularies intended for different social needs.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e3j7lO5-84[/youtube]

Among his well known types created under ‘font factory’ Virus Font, such as Regime, Prozac, Sarcastic, Patriot, Prototype, Bastard, Melancholia; he also exhibited Doublethink type. Barnbrook says about Doublethink: ‘Drawn originally in the 1960s in Yugoslavia as a logo for the shopfronts of the state-owned clothes company “Standard Konfekcija” by Vinko Ozic-Pajic from Zagreb. This ‘digital’ looking font was originally constructed by shaping a piece of rope into the letterform shapes to keep the font ‘fluid’.’

jb3_1.jpgDoublethink by J. Barnbrook (c)

‘There are not many that have mourned the passing of Communism, but Virusfonts can’t help feeling that a huge amount of valuable visual culture has been thrown away with everything else. So this is one release of many, that we are planning, to highlight these ‘lost’ fonts.’

jb4.jpgDoublethink by J. Barnbrook (c)

With a perfect instinct for social and cultural changes Barnbrook doesn’t ignore the political meaning and the whole set of subculture tools in order to spread the message.

However, at the same time he’s staying in the same track of mainstream public, with an obvious reason, to deliver the meaning even to audience which isn’t so captivated to scenes happening ‘out side of their yard’.

jb2.jpgSpot the Difference by J. Barnbrook (c)

The semantics of his ‘Korean cycle’ is a perfect example for Cultural studies students and researchers, not only to designers. As a starting point he took references to Naomi Klein’s No logo, making juxtaposed series with polysemantic meanings and visual riddles for the viewers.

His posters are more readable than they ought to be comprehended as visual objects. They are more created as a bunch of intersected yarns, always in rather disciplined order.

jb8.jpgThe Little Fellow by J. Barnbrook (c)

Collateral Damage is sharp provoking and based on ‘small boxes’ of life ironies, but what makes it so different is that Barnbrook is an deeper devotee to the idea of changes through different design identities. Of course, identities with attitudes.

p.s.  Adbusters + Jonathan Barnbrook = luv
p.s. 1. Check the Barnbrook Bible here

13 Comments
March 2, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

How was the image ‘The Little Fellow’ created? was it painted,
photographed or digitally enhanced? Or made using any other forms
of media?

March 2, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

How was the image ‘The Little Fellow’ created? was it painted, photographed or digitally enhanced? Or made using any other forms of media?

March 2, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

hi H! i guess it was created digitally on computer… i know that
he uses mac in typography… some designers don’t like much
computers, like james victore… it could be photographed first,
but i thing it was probably made in adobe indesign or
illustrator… but don’t take it for granted… check first the
list of graphic programmes for mac…

March 2, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

hi H!
i guess it was created digitally on computer… i know that he uses mac in typography…

some designers don’t like much computers, like james victore…

it could be photographed first, but i thing it was probably made in adobe indesign or illustrator… but don’t take it for granted… check first the list of graphic programmes for mac…

March 28, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

Jonathan Barnbrook might be one of the best graphic design minds
today, clearly pronounced, sharp, on the edge of ambiguous graphic
language, but very much real and unbiased in making a statement.
Having that in mind the media used is not so important anymore. And
that is what the real graphic design is all about…

March 28, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

Jonathan Barnbrook might be one of the best graphic design minds today, clearly pronounced, sharp, on the edge of ambiguous graphic language, but very much real and unbiased in making a statement.
Having that in mind the media used is not so important anymore. And that is what the real graphic design is all about…

March 29, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

oh, he’s gooood… i liked the exhibition, too… although, i’m always kinda slightly suspicious to designers, because of the establishment… but he seems to be cool… very sharp conclusions… you’re completely right… what’s happening now in ljubljana?

March 29, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

oh, he’s gooood… i liked the exhibition, too… although, i’m
always kinda slightly suspicious to designers, because of the
establishment… but he seems to be cool… very sharp
conclusions… you’re completely right… what’s happening now in
ljubljana?

March 29, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

I agree, Jonathan is great creator… I once had the opportunity of
interviewing him, long ago. Very soft speaking person but the kind
you cannot forget. Yeah… establishment and designers… an
endless theme, dear Deedee. That’s why I rather watch from a
distance on the workings of graphic design in Ljubljana… If I
exaggerate a bit I would say the graphic design as a discipline of
generating a good content is gone. People don’t want an
information, they want seduction… About two weeks ago, Miljenko
Licul, one of the greatest graphic designers, died. His departure I
see as the final fall of the curtain on the Golden age in graphic
design in Slovenia. I hope for better times, as always. I hope for
some vision which exceeds the relentless power of profit. I hope
Ljubljana and Slovenia shall wake up from a slumber…

March 29, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

I agree, Jonathan is great creator… I once had the opportunity of interviewing him, long ago. Very soft speaking person but the kind you cannot forget. Yeah… establishment and designers… an endless theme, dear Deedee. That’s why I rather watch from a distance on the workings of graphic design in Ljubljana… If I exaggerate a bit I would say the graphic design as a discipline of generating a good content is gone. People don’t want an information, they want seduction… About two weeks ago, Miljenko Licul, one of the greatest graphic designers, died. His departure I see as the final fall of the curtain on the Golden age in graphic design in Slovenia. I hope for better times, as always. I hope for some vision which exceeds the relentless power of profit. I hope Ljubljana and Slovenia shall wake up from a slumber…

March 30, 2009 @ 10:50 am

Yeah, I’ve heard about Licul… but, I think that design in general
is crucified between marketing needs and different business
models… anyway,than i’m reading books, watching movies, and i can
get my conclusions from it… stay cool…

March 30, 2009 @ 11:50 am

Yeah, I’ve heard about Licul… but, I think that design in general is crucified between marketing needs and different business models… anyway,than i’m reading books, watching movies, and i can get my conclusions from it… stay cool…

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