Monday, November 10, 2008

The 411 on Neville Brody

Part A.

On April 23, 1957 the design world welcomed a highly influential addition to its group of designers; a man that would eventually become a great asset to the modern day designs: Neville Brody. Neville Brody was born in London, England, Southgate to be specific, and began his designing career when he enrolled at the London College of Printing in 1976 to pursue a B.A. in graphic design. He continued his education at the Hammersmith College of Art and studied under various artists including a highly renowned painter: Ruskin Spear.
With the beginning of punk rock and with the punk style taking off, Neville Brody was able to grab ideas from this era. This style had a great influence in Neville Brody’s work; however, it did not impact his professors all that well during his education. One famous incident that happened during Neville Brody’s college career was when he was almost expelled from college for a postage stamp he had designed for one of his projects. Following the rebellious and radical views of punk, Neville Brody had edited a picture of the Queen’s head sideways, which was a definitely “no no” when it came to England. In addition to the punk style, Neville Brody was also highly influenced by Dadaism and Pop Art. Most of Neville Brody’s work matched the abstract, contemporary, and political views of Dadaism and Pop Art. Neville Brody is a well-rounded graphic designer that has not just focused on one area in the design world but has touched every nick and cranny of design and has tackled issues that consequently branded him as a world famous anti-traditional graphic designer. He eventually became one of the most sought after graphic artists in the 1980's.
Neville Brody began his career, first by, designing posters for student concerts at college but then moved on to design for record labels in the United Kingdom. He designed numerous sleeve designs for Rocking, Russian, Stiff Records, and Fetish Records, all of which were independent record companies in the British music industry. To name a few, two of the many artists for whom he designed sleeves for were: Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode. Typically, the budgets at Fetish and the other record companies were low so his work was only printed with a four-color process a few number of times. Looking at his sleeve designs, Neville Brody used irregular shaped images and strong geometric grids formed by type, as well a numerous layers. Most of his designs impressively were hand made, it wasn't until 1985 when Macintosh technology came into play that Neville Brody adopted its use and began to work mostly digitally.
After Neville Brody left his mark on this record industry, he began to work for a newly published fashion magazine called, “The Face” in 1981 and eventually became the art director for “The Face” magazine until 1986. He continued to land various other magazine jobs because of his different approach to things. He removed himself from the contemporary editorial conventions and placed himself in an innovative position. His work on “The Face” was visually exciting and appealing. The layouts and typography he put together were highly influenced by the artistic ideas surrounding the 1920's and the 1930's. To be more specific, those ideas revolving around the De Stijl movement as well as the Russian Constructivism. Neville Brody put much time and effort into his layouts and devoted much thought into every part of the layout. He often composed distinctive layouts with blocks of text placed horizontally or vertically on the page and contrasting hand drawn images and photography. His layouts were often borderline legible due to the fact that he was notorious for exploring the limits of legibility going to the extremes. Neville Brody also experimented with new typographic styles and redefined the relationship between photography and text. His ideas broke through the standards and made an international impact on the magazine appearance, advertising, and retailing design. He emphasized on the idea of making the viewer an active one, making the viewer interpret the article not only through the content but also the design. He also made all of his photographs and drawings visually active. For example, on the July 1983 cover, Neville Brody went against normal magazine layout conventions by only showing a fraction of the face of an artist rather than showing his entire face centered on the page. Although he managed to design innovative and rule breaking layouts, he did not lose focus on what was important. He made sure that his design remained functional. According to him, a great design managed to impress the reader with a dynamic layout while at the same time not hinder the reader's experience, instead enhance it. Due to his influence to this area of design, his work on “The Face” helped to land him other related jobs throughout the following years. From 1983 to 1987 he designed the covers for another stylish magazine at the time, “City Limits.” Right after his time at “City Limits,” Neville Brody became the art director of another well-known magazine from 1987 to 1990: a men's magazine called “Arena.” Around the same time as his time as the art director for “Arena,” Neville Brody also became the art director for various other magazines including, “Per Lui” and “Lei” in Milan and then “Actuel” in France. In addition to radically changing the look for two of Britain's leading newspapers, “The Guardian” and “The Observer.”
By this time, Neville Brody managed to make a name for himself and slowly became one of the leading graphic artists of the time. During the late 1980's, Neville Brody continued to work for various companies. In 1987 Neville Brody launched his own studio naming it simply, “The Studio.” Here is where Neville Brody captivated the world by working with clients around the world. Some of his clientèle include: Nike, Premiere TV, ORF, the House of World Culture in Berlin, the Deutsches Theater in Hamburg, Parco in Tokyo, and Greenpeace. Really interested in typography and designing his own typefaces, he established FontWorks in 1990 in London, England and became the director of FontShop International in Berlin. Here is where he designed many of his numerous typefaces. A few of which include: Arcadia, Industria, Iinsignia, and FF Dirty. Most of his typographic language has become a great example and resource for the new computer-oriented design. Neville Brody also launched the typographic magazine, “FUSE,” which is still in circulation and has become an award-winning interactive magazine that focuses on digital typography. In 1988 Neville Brody also published one of his two monographs, The Graphic Language of Neville Brody, which to this day have been the world's best selling graphic design books. It has sold over 120,000 copies. He continues to be known worldwide. Before touring in Europe and Japan, Neville Brody exhibited his work at the Victoria and Albert Museum and brought over 40,000 visitors to his instillation. After the success of his first monograph and his exhibition show, Neville Brody became an example of a “celebrity designer,” and artist whose work has granted him/her large followings and high status among peers, as well as media attention.
In 1994 Neville Brody teamed up with his business partner, Fwa Richards and established “Research Studios.” The Studio he continues to work at and manage to this day. This company he co-founded is known for its ability to create new visual communication techniques for clients ranging from publications to film. Neville Brody has worked to create innovative package and website design for various clients such as Kenzo, corporate identities for other like Homechoice, and Motion Graphics for clients like Paramount Studios with his “Research Studios.” Due to the success of his company, “Research Studios,” Neville Brody has been able to open up more studios at various locations. Since 1994, there additional “Research Studios” in San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, and New York. Currently, Neville Brody has had some major projects. In November of 2006, Neville Brody redesigned, The Times, with the addition of a new font: Times Modern. This typeface is similar to and earlier font called Mercury. Also in 2006, Neville Brody’s “Research Studios,” worked on completing a visual identity project for the world-renowned contemporary art exhibition in Paris called, “Nuit Blanche.” In 2004, the champagne brand, Dom Perignon, contacted Research Studios for help in redesigning it’s strategy and repositioning it on the market. It was not until February of 2007, that Neville Brody and his team of designers finally launched the new look for the champagne’s brand. In line with Research Studios, Neville Brody also launched a sister company named, “Research Publishing,” that focuses on creating and publishing experimental works by young artists. Neville Brody has also continued to work with his typographic magazine, “FUSE.” Over 20 issues of FUSE have been published and Neville Brody continues to put together conferences and forums that talk about and focus on experimental typography and communications. Neville Brody tries to bring together speakers from all the different aspects of design and art at the conferences, ranging from design, architecture, sound, film, interactive design, and web. In correlation with the current computer based design, Neville Brody is a huge supporter of Mac and has become an international model for the digital graphic arts. Neville Brody continues to design contemporary works that keep grabbing the audience’s attention.
Neville Brody has pushed the boundaries of visual communication and has challenged not only himself but also the world around him. He has always been a bold and secure designer who risks things and pushes things to the limits by taking them to their extremes. He first appeared in the 1980’s by making an impact in the British graphic design world by stepping out of the norm and creating new unthought-of of or unheard of designing concepts and views, keeping with his original rebellious influences from the Punk era. He continues to test the waters by creating controversial or new unique works. He once stated, “I see my role partly as a catalyst for thought and for questioning. A lot of our work is an open-ended statement which often is not completed until the person who looks at it has reached his or her own conclusion,” which sums up all of what he accomplished and continues to accomplish.


Part B.
Neville Brody Font's

1984: INDUSTRIA INLINE
INDUSTRIA SOLID
1986: INSIGNIA
1989: INSIGNIA
INDUSTRIA
1990: ARCADIA
1991: FF TYPEFACE 4 1
FF TYPEFACE 4 2
FF TYPEFACE 6
FF TYPEFACE 7
1992: FF BLUR
FF GOTHIC 1 1
FF GOTHIC 1 1 CONDENSED
FF GOTHIC 1 2
FF GOTHIC 1 2 CONDENSED
FF GOTHIC 2 1
FF GOTHIC 2 2
FF POP LED
FF POP POP
1993: FF DOME HEADLINE
FF DOME TEXT
FF HARLEM
FF HARLEM SLANG
FF TOKYO 1
FF TOKYO 1 SOLID
FF TOKYO 2
FF TOKYO 2 SOLID
FF TYSON
FF WORLD 1
FF WORLD 2
FF WORLD 3
1994: FF DIRTY 1
FF DIRTY 3
FF DIRTY 4
FF DIRTY 6 1
FF DIRTY 7 1
FF DIRTY 7 2
FF AUTOTRACE DOUBLE
FF AUTOTRACE FIVE
FF AUTOTRACE NINE
FF AUTOTRACE ONE
FF AUTOTRACE OUTLINE
1995: FF META SUBNORMAL


FEATURED FONT: TOKYO
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/fontfont/ff-tokyo/one/charmap.html

Tokyo is a sans serif font that is similar to Helvetica in that the typeface consists of basic shapes and lines that form together to make a letter. The letters are also doubled meaning that it appears to have one letter inside it’s bigger duplicate. The letters do not have any beaks or serifs decorating the ends of the arms and legs. Instead the letters are straightforward and also non-oblique.


Part C.
The introduction of the mainstream Internet happened around the 1990’s. The surroundings were becoming more and more modern and less traditional than before. Neville Brody ‘s font “Tokyo” correlates with the new wave of technology that was beginning to take over because the style of this font is much different from those of earlier times. Much less traditional and classic.

1 comment:

Silver Firefly said...

Thanks for this article. This will help me a lot with my assignment where I have to compare two graphic designers, Neville Brody being one of them.