Barnbrook Fields Questions About Barnbrook

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An interesting interview, with questions sent in from readers, over at Creative Review with Jonathan Barnbrook, all around jack-of-all-trades, from a graphic designer to a typographer to an artist to a general rabble rousing activist. He’s also got a new book out, Barnbrook Bible: The Graphic Design of Jonathan Barnbrook. And all the better: he’s a guy who likes to write. Hence his lengthy replies to each and every question, much to the benefit of we the readers. Here’s one:

Q:You’re on a short flight. The person in the seat next to you asks what you do. What do you tell them?

JB: It’s difficult because graphic design is completely invisible to most people, so when you say you are a graphic designer most people won’t know what you’re talking about. And when you explain further that you put images and text together, it never seems very significant. I always try to explain that I don’t just do commercial work, that it’s not just about packaging, it can be many different things and I often tell them that I work with Adbusters so that they can immediately see something completely contrary to what they expect, which is of graphic design being a purely commercial activity. When I give a project to my mum that I designed she’ll say “ooh that’s very nice, did you write the book?” And I’ll say, “no I didn’t.” “Did you take the pictures?” “No, no I didn’t take the pictures.” “Well, did you print the book?” “No I didn’t print the book, I put the text and the images together and gave it to the printer.” People are really unimpressed, so it’s always very difficult, But because it’s invisible I think it has more power, unlike an object in a gallery where you may come to it with certain prejudices, a piece of graphic design is just seen as something which conveys information, so I think it can have an amazing power to it.