Jonathan Barnbrook and his studio have been active since 1990, working across a broad range of disciplines including graphic design, industrial design, typeface design and film. Barnbrook Design is based in Soho, London and consists of three designers and a coordinator, originating from England, Japan and Brazil. They are Jonathan Barnbrook, Elle Kawano, Pedro Inoue and Marcus McCallion.
The studio divides its time between commercial work on an international basis for museums and cultural institutions and non-commercial projects. One of Barnbrook Design's most visible forms of activity is in the world of typeface design where they have extended a socio-political view to this often quietly traditional world. Producing typefaces based on historical forms but with a very contemporary subversive influence and titled in an appropriately confrontational manner. Typefaces with names such as Manson (American serial-killer), Exocet (French missile) and Bastard (English swear word) have garnered both praise and criticism for the highlighting of the relationship of words to the letterforms that represent them.
Non-commercial collaborations include art directing and producing work with 'Adbusters' the leading activist magazine. The studio also puts great effort into developing and producing work which highlights political and social injustices that are offered for free and without copyright restrictions on the studio's website (www.barnbrook.net, www.virusfonts.com). Recently the studio has increasingly taken part in exhibitions of specially commissioned artworks.
Commercial collaborations include major corporate identities for Roppongi Hills, the largest post-war development in Tokyo, and Mori Art Museum, a new internationally-based contemporary art museum also located in Tokyo. In Britain, Barnbrook Design had become very well known as a result of collaboration with major figures in the British art scene such as the Saatchi Gallery and Damien Hirst, for whom he designed his book "I Want To Spend The Rest of My Life, Everywhere with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now". Barnbrook Design has also designed the past two David Bowie album covers.
"Drawing and releasing a typeface means you have shaped a new voice that is uniquely yours with which to speak to the world on your own terms."
[Jonathan Barnbrook, March 2006]