Jonathan Barnbrook

Jonathan Barnbrook


Jonathan Barnbrook is most well-known as David Bowie’s favourite graphic designer having worked on the designs of his last 4 albums.

However he has had a long and distinguished career in type design being one of the original members of the “typographic new wave” – a 1990s international movement that rebelled against the Modernist conventions of the 20th century in favour of the new freedom that the rise of technology and a re-found interest in the vernacular gave them.

His typefaces Mason, Exocet quickly became part of the world visual language. Barnbrook continues to release fonts through his own company Virusfonts. He also runs the design studio Barnbrook, which works with a mixture of cultural institutions, activist groups’ and charities. He is well known for his collaborations with Adbusters, Occupy London, Damien Hirst and the Victoria and Albert Museum.


The Decline of Western Civilisation and the rise of Virusfonts

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Jonathan Barnbrook is one of the oldest members of the 'new wave’ of font designers.

Releasing digital typefaces as far back as the early 1990s when the technology first became available to create fonts on a computer. His first fonts – Mason and Exocet were released by pioneering Californian font company Emigre, shortly after he started his one font company Virusfonts releasing typefaces which carried the spirit of the moment, often conceptual, politically loaded and coming with a very large element of irony they carved a very niche, esoteric place in the world of typefaces.

In his talk Jonathan will take us through some of the concepts, and influences that have been at the core of specific fonts which have names such as Prozac, Bastard and Nixon (a typeface specifically for telling lies with) up until the more clean functional fonts that he and Virusfonts release today.