Jonathan Barnbrook (1966–) is one of the UK’s most active graphic designers. Pioneering the notion of graphic design with a social conscience, Barnbrook makes strong statements about corporate culture, consumerism, war and international politics. Working in both commercial and non-commercial spheres, Barnbrook combines originality, wit, political savvy and bitter irony in equal measures.
Founding his studio in 1990 and Virus Foundry in 1997, Barnbrook is perhaps best known for his provocatively named fonts, such as Mason (originally released as Manson), Exocet, Bastard, Prozac, Nixon and Drone. The controversy surrounding this work stems from its subversive nature and strong social commentary. Barnbrook multi-layers meaning and style — working with language and letterforms in an ingenious way. He uses advertising to reveal anti-corporate messages and exhibitions to promote non-commercial work. With an international presence and local impact, Barnbrook’s work is definitely of the times.
Since graduating in graphic design from Saint Martin’s School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, Barnbrook has developed a multifaceted practice which includes graphic design, typeface design and motion graphics. He has worked with clients as diverse as Damien Hirst and anti-corporate collective, Adbusters.