Our first industry Friday seminar to kick off the year 2016 started in a somber mood, as our speaker was a personal friend and worked very closely with the now late great David Bowie.

Luton born and raised Jonathan Barnbrook is a graphic designer who never had a job, but spent his time building his company. Typefaces, exhibition paraphernalia and David Bowie’s album covers are just a few things that Barnbrook mentioned with us.

“Typography is a fundamental part of graphic design; it’s the ‘address of the letter’, attention to detail on the typography. Learn it for yourself.”

 I know that within fashion most students start with an attitude of “I just want to cut and sew”, but as you go through your course and you are introduced to other creative disciplines and you achieve new learning outcomes, it will be natural to discover the importance of learning/taking in or spending time looking at typography. My editorial role within ‘The Hub Magazine’, was a great experience in showing me that sometimes all it takes is a poor choice of font and you have lost a reader. This principle applies to any document or ‘thing’ a person has to read from a promotional poster, swing tag label or even CV!

Jonathan touched on a few reasons why it is important to create a new typeface.

-An expression of language

In this day and age, with everything happening around us, and technology practically running our lives, we forget about the simple things that are/were core to building the civilization we live in today, and that is language. For me personally when I look at text written in Chinese or Arabic, it’s completely foreign to me in many ways. There aren’t any letters/symbols that I can reference to the language I speak or read. And that is also the great thing about typography: although shared it can be a personal experience.

Barnbrook’s very first font he ever designed was entitled ‘Bastard’.

-A font to improve society-subverting and reshaping the world.

Although his font’s are free and available on his website, Barnbrook has put his spin on typography which has been embedded in the world for generations to come. For example, the medieval emotions that are in the ‘Mason’ font are evoked from modern references and has been widely used in films from Harry Potter to Shrek.


-Using our past to create something new

Graphic design is a creative process, it should further your soul that’s why it should be difficult. Have thought behind your work. Everything connects together .Tourette was based on the sensuality within expletive language .

The images on the left hand side showcase his inspiration behind the font. The ‘A’ were the archways in a gothic church and the ‘M’ from the shape of the mosquito legs and nozzle where it sucks it’s victims blood.



Like with most business their sole principle is profit. Lucky for Jonathan his is made in the sector of designing literature and logistics for the synonymous Art Basel. They cover all the fairs in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami.


I have put this edition of Industry Friday into two posts, please find Part 2 here.


One thought on “Jonathan Barnbrook:Part 1 Industry Friday.

  1. Pingback: Jonathan Barnbrook Part 2: Industry Friday. | melissasamasuwofashiony2

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