Johnathan Barnbrook of Barnbrook Design, was born in 1966 and is a British graphic designer, film maker and typographer. He trained at many institutions including the Royal College of Art. Barnbrook is arguably most-recognized for his design of the cover artwork of David Bowie’s 2002 album Heathen (pictured below) which featured the debut for his ‘Priori’ typeface.


This is particularly appropriate as Barnbrook cites record cover artwork as an early design influence, and possibly the interest that drew him to graphic design. Barnbrook is also a well known font designer. These are released through ‘VirusFonts’ and include Bastard, Exocet, False Idol, Infidel, Moron, Newspeak, Olympukes, Sarcastic, Shock & Awe.

At the Herbert Gallery, there was only one piece of work my Jonathan Barnbrook (I think). Pictured below, As Long As We Know What We’re Fighting For (1992) was featured on the longest wall of the exhibition next to the likes of Kennardphillipps and Blek Le Rat, and like these artist, stood out to me greatly.


I absolutely love this design. Standing in front of it, I ‘googled’ the title to find a High Res digital file, but couldn’t at the time so I left it til I got home (and still to this very day can’t find a single image on the net bar the above). I think the one of the single things that pops out to me is the use of branding. Texaco, the huge fuel company appear on this design. As Barnbrook founded his studio in 1990, he started to produce anti-advertising and political work in the aim to inform and educate people about social and political issues. In this above work, the US Air Force logo has been removed and replaced with the Texaco branding, making clear his feelings about the real reason for the war – fuel.

Apart from the concept behind the design, I also love it as a piece of design in it’s layout and shape. It looks very current and digital – something I’m finding an awful lot with Art & Design from the past. I know this is only 20 odd year old, but it looks something that the Illustrator would be perfect for. The use of photograph and illustrations (both of planes) is brilliant – the use of transparency with the illustration and the layers of shape give the piece a real depth – combining with the angle of the planes really gives you the birds eye view angle – making the piece look more realistic like a map/photography.

In whole, this was probably my favourite piece of design from the whole exhibition, and I really wish I could view a high res photo or even to see is with my own eyes again. This really makes me want to go back to Coventry before July when the exhibition closes to view this and many more pieces again.