Design Museum to host Barnbrook show

Graphic designer Jonathan Barnbook, renowned for his experimental typefaces and political projects, is to unveil the first UK exhibition of his work at the Design Museum in June.

The Friendly Fire exhibition, designed by Barnbrook and his studio, will feature examples from his portfolio, from experiments in typography and motion graphics in the early 1990s to his latest projects with collaborators such as anti-corporate collective Adbusters.

With in-depth descriptions accompanying all exhibits, one wall will feature political work has appeared across the streets of London. The show will also include commercial work and D&AD-awarded Radio Scotland designs.

A book of Damien Hirst’s work by Barnbrook – called I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now – will appear together with images of the artist’s former restaurant in Notting Hill, Pharmacy. The book features gimmicks such as pop-ups and stickers, and the cover uses medical stock photography. Hirst’s name is shown as though it is a medical brand. The title, which comes from one of his sculptures, is represented in a periodic table.

‘This is not just about commercial activity, we have a strong view of the change in the political landscape. There will be a section with Hirst’s monograph, as well as some films with a mixture of political and general work. Film is a very valued form of communication. We will be showing all the typefaces we have produced and the exhibition will show how there was a big change in graphic design since technology came into it.’

Barnbrook’s typefaces have names such as Bourgeois, Newspeak, Patriot, Prozak and Tourette. His most popular typeface – Mason, designed in 1992 – is based on drawings made in Barnbrook’s sketchbook over a number of years, partly inspired by 19th century Russian letterforms, Greek architecture and Renaissance Bibles. It has been used by companies including the BBC and Walt Disney.

Friendly Fire runs from 15 June to 10 October.

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