Design: Then and Now

To those who know me, it’s known that I love Barnbrook’s work. Typographic politics and controversy are always right up my alley. I was reading an interview with him in a back issue of Grafik in the library (we’re talking like… couple of years old now) and he was talking about how his whole style of work changed when he started reading issues of Graphis from the 60’s when he was studying at Central Saint Martins.

My interest piqued, I thought I’d check out the back issues of Graphis, and going back to the 50’s found something really interesting. It is well known that design trends go around in circles, and whats out today will soon be in again, but the relevance that a great number of published works had back in the 50’s really gives weight to this principle for me.

For instance Jonathan Barnbrook’s font foundry Virus fonts uses an arrow motif in its design, a motif that is also present in a lot of his print work as well as the extravagant colour choices:

While looking in the back issue of Graphis however I found this piece:

poster image

(source: Graphis Magazine circa. 1950)

Basically what I’m trying to say in this post is that everyone, even the greats, takes their inspiration from things that have happened before. What makes it particularly interesting is the modernity that can be seen in old pieces. Despite graphic design being revolutionised by the digital age and being such a fast moving industry, nothing loses its relevance.


About alextomlinson

Graphic Designer studying my trade at Kingston University.

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