Offset 2016 Live: Jonathan Barnbrook

The design process for any designer is fraught with frustration coupled with expletives, bogged down with delays in communication and can the feedback can just be bollox; however no one over the day sweeps that aside in moments of triumph and seems to enjoy it more than Jonathan Barnbrook.

A designer who worked very closely with David Bowie over the last few years, Jonathan designed his Where Are We Now (Working Title which became the iconic 'The Next Day') album cover to great acclaim and also great criticism. He brings us through that design process from the start with his boyish charm and dynamic energy. From working with Bowie to agents and record companies and to its release when it became an actual internet storm! It was a crazy ride yes, but one you imagine he'd take again (and I'd love to go with)


His work at Banksy's Dismaland was absolutely stunning in its simplicity, dynamicism and political intent and you can't help but love the way he not only thinks, but how it translates into his work. This comes from his work with Adbusters, a magazine that pokes fun but asks real questions about brands ethics and how they advertise. He is passionate about designers also being ethical and not lying to people on behalf of big brands; this is quite apparent in the work he did with the Occupy London movement.


Jonathan has spent a lot of his career designing typefaces which in some ways seems like an odd thing to continue doing, bearing in mind that isn't the point being able to read just one font? Well as it turns out... Not really. He has a multitude of compelling reasons for continuing to create typefaces and he's dead right; a few reasons are: To improve society, to understand society and to create beauty and you can't be any more sincere than that.

That wraps him up in a nutshell but my favourite thing about Jonathan though is that he wears his hate mail with pride; which cannot be easy as he has an AWFUL lot of it. His great sense of humour is something to be admired (the man went to war with Helvetica for goodness sake!) 


He wrapped up the talk with a quick chat about how he designed the cover of David Bowie's *Blackstar* album, the word in asterisks because his album is not a word but an emoji which I genuinely didn't know. The concept is absolutely, truly brilliant in a pragmatic, transitional and almost perfect way... And what a man to do it.

I am Timi