best-selling illustrated guide to popular typographist
Neville Brody is a now-famous UK graphic designer who shot to prominence in the 1970s. He became artistic director of The Face – a youth and fashion magazine which he revamped – and in doing so set the pace for magazine cover design which persists to this day. Many UK magazines are still designed on the principles he established – of a bold, typographically interesting title at the top of the page (Maxim, Loaded, Mojo,) surmounting a single photographic portrait. In fact he is part graphic designer and part typographer.
Advertising and logos throughout the world sport his typefaces and their variants. Only the other day I noticed an ad for shoes on the back of a bus which was composed entirely of one of his fonts. He comes up with designs which draw their inspiration from constructivist, modernist, and expressionist designs of the inter-war years, but he gives them a contemporary twist. These are two very stylish publications celebrating his achievement – and very attractive publications in their own right. Even if you are put off by the fact that Brody applies his undoubted talents to the ephemeral products of the worlds of pop and fashion, it’s impossible to escape his harmonious sense of form and crisp sense of design on every page.
There are pop adverts, albumn and magazine covers, corporate logos and design, fashion magazine plates, book dust jackets, letterheads, and even humble business cards amongst the designs illustrated here. The accompanying text by Jon Wozencroft is enthusiastic without being sycophantic, and there is a good scholarly apparatus which gives full details of sources. However, the principal value of these two volumes is that they are beautifully designed books, full of good page layouts, vivid illustrations, and well-chosen typography. If they are out of print by the time you read this, make the effort to track them down. You will not regret it.
© Roy Johnson 2002
Jon Wozencroft, The Graphic Language of Neville Brody, London: Thames and Hudson, 1988, pp.160, ISBN: 0500274967
Jon Wozencroft, The Graphic Language of Neville Brody 2, London: Thames and Hudson, 1994, pp.176, ISBN: 0500277702