Creative greats | Neville Brody

Design is like a painting, except the paint never dries

Neville Brody (b. 1957), British art director, graphic designer and typographer made his mark by challenging conventional editorial design standards and trusting his inner punk-rocker!

Artistic influences

Trained at the London College of Printing (1976-79), Brody found himself immersed in London’s Punk Rock movement. Punk Rock encouraged Brody to find his creative confidence, challenge design ideals and push the boundaries – regardless of consequences. 

During his studies in London, Brody was almost expelled from his course for putting the Queen’s head sideways on a postage stamp concept. Despite this, he continued to diversify and support the university’s creative community by regularly designing concert posters.

There are two artistic movements which directly shape Brody’s design style and desire to create radical visual pieces; these movements are Dadaism and Pop Art.

Dadaism

The Dada movement began in Switzerland in 1916 by a group of World War 1 poets and artists set out to ridicule established values and beliefs. Aimed to create visual impact and shock-value, the movement was liberating and overturned many social and artistic conventions.

The artistic style typically features bold typography, mixed with collage and super-imposed photographic images from different sources.

Key figures of this movement include; Marcel Duchamp, Hans Arp and Hannah Hoch.

Pop art

‘Popular Art’ was the dominant movement in the early 1960’s. Often working on large scale, Pop artists highlight the powerful relationship between the consumer and artifact.

Evident in packaging and comic strips, Pop Art features flat, brash colours with halftone screen dots. This new form of visual expression excited both graphic designers and illustrators abroad.

Key figures of Pop Art include, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

The legacy

Brody catapulted his professional profile as a record cover artist, becoming a valuable design asset amongst established publication giants, and also launching a succession of typeface foundaries and design studios. Brody’s creative genius revolutionised the face of media design and became an industry ambassador leading the next generation of designers. He pioneered the next phase of design evolution; which was to embrace the creative potential of Apple Macintosh.

Record labels

In 1980 Brody became the Art Director of Fetish Records and was able to experiment and create a new  visual language through the use of architectural and visual elements.

Brody’s most famous record designs was ‘The Sound of Washington’s’ record ‘Go-Go’. The artwork typographically reflected American highway signage.

Publication giants

In 1981 Brody began working for the magazine ‘Face’, where he globally revolutionised the appearance of magazines, advertisements and retail outlets. Winning public approval for his creative ideas, he then went on to design the ‘Typeface 4’ magazine.

In 1987–1990 he embarked on a completely different course, using minimalist, non-decorative typography with Arena magazine before returning to his expressive visual style.

Brody also launched the experimental type magazine, FUSE. FUSE was regularly published and displayed a collection of posters which pushed the boundaries between graphic design and typography. The purpose of FUSE was to demystify the computerised technology that was available, destroying notions about how typography should be seen.

Brody also redesigned the two leading English newspapers and magazines, The Guardian and The Observer, showcasing a radical new look. And more recent years embraced the opportunity to rebrand, The Times (2006) and the BBC (2011).

Master of type

Brody is one of the founding members of Fontworks (1990) and the leading website FontShop. He designed a large variety of typefaces, including State, Blur, Insignia, Gothic, World, Pop Harlem and Tokyo.

Thames & Hudson published two volumes of his graphic design accomplishments in 1988. The books ultimately reached the world’s best-selling ranking.

Design vault

Renowned for his visually rebellious approach to design, Brody well and truly proved himself as a master designer and became extremely versatile across all design mediums. 

Here are a few of our favourite pieces:

Design is more than just a few tricks to the eye. It's a few tricks to the brain.​

Neville Brody

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