Branding is just a funny word for universe. Iconic British designer, Jonathan Barnbrook, insists that what graphic designers do is create worlds. Something is revealed through the work, and he wants designers to use their skill to move society along. He believes that graphic design is personal, so that no projects should ever veer you off your personal interests, and even more so – graphic design is political. It is at the heart of capitalism.
Barnbrook encourages graphic designers to fully embrace the responsibility that they have, since their creativity inevitably encourages consumption. “Turn a job down,” he says, “if, morally, you completely disagree with it.” Issues are more important than jobs, and graphic design is a chance to tell truths out loud.
Records were his first entry point into the sphere of graphic design. Looking at the visuals, he realized that there was something spiritual there. Good album covers simply make the music sound better, in some inexplicable way. There is a connection between sight and sound. For example, within a band’s logo lies their entire philosophy, and a whole language flows out from it.
He’s renowned for his work with giants David Bowie and Damien Hirst, who taught him “not to explain,” he says. What it always boils down to, is realizing that any good creative process takes a bit of pain, because something has to be torn out of your soul for it to take shape externally, and this pushes you forward as a person, which is the ultimate goal.
Most of all, it can be said of Barnbrook that he has a vision, which he follows completely, saying, “I can’t see the world in any other way than the one I want to portray.”