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On this spread Nigel Billen meets Neville Brody: Brody talks about The List and The [.istcasts a glance at Blueprint on Brody
12.CND rejected Brody's
have to be tled'). According to the Brody book. ‘one critic suggested that the whole idea was akin to commissioning Andy Warhol to help redesignthe Soviet Flag‘.
redesign at their logo (this
is just one at a series at
designs submitted to
demostrate that ‘you don't 12
Neville Brody's exhibition is at the Fruitmarket Gallery. Edinburgh. Until 31 July. The Graphic Language ol Neville Brody by Neville Brody and Jon Wozencrott is published by Thames and Hudson at £14.95
graphic designer of his generation. It’s not iust other designers w ho know his work. but a huge lay audience of readers of magazines like The Face. .Vt'ii‘ Sorta/is! and Arena. In addition. the Brody ‘look' (a strange parody of something that Brody would deny exists) has been cynically applied by the advertising and media industry to anything that needs a boost of money -making youth culture.
Despite the fatne that has giy en him at thirty-one an exhibition at the Victoria And Albert museum (now transferred to lidinburgh's Fruitmarket) and a lavishly illustrated new book surveying his work to date. Brody doesn't seem happy with the situation. ‘In many ways I‘ve made matters worse. I w as trying to challenge design and I wanted other designers to come in and challenge me. But they didn't.' Instead. Brody"s letter-spacing or coinputer-expanded or squeezed type became just another liftable gimmick. providing street cred for all. ‘Design‘s now even tnore entrenched as an immovable object than when I started.‘
(icnerously. when I met Brody in Edinburgh. he seemed happier to talk about the design of The List than about himself. 'lt‘s very David King.’ Brody commented immediately about The List. King was the first designer of ( ‘ity Limits.
Brody was brought in to redesign (‘itv Limits when it was in serious financial difficulties. It was his belief that David King’s design was too immediately associated with radicalism; ‘lt didn‘t give the opportunity to enjoy". Brody set to the task of showing how the magazine could be radical as well as having a broad and popular appeal.
The David King connection with The List was of course spot on. 'I he List design is by Simon listerson. (Art liditor ofthc design ntaga/ine Blueprint) who doesn't need to be pressed into revealing his admiration for the work of King at ('ity Limits. 'l’hat two of the country‘s most successful magazine designers of similar ages. should have such different views about how a listings magazine like The List should be designed isn’t as strange as perhaps might first appear.
Brody has been described as having an 'intuitive’ approach to design compared with the traditional ‘problem solving' attitude ofother designers. The List admired King's design for ( 'ity Limits because of its solutions to the many problems of presenting information. but Brody is as likely to look fora ‘solution‘ that seems nearer fine art in its inspirational quality. The word ‘contents‘ on the contents page of The Face. for instance soon ceased to have a directly functional use as the letters were abstracted as the issues went by. ‘Designers traditionally believe in the anonymity oftheir designs. But it never is anonymous. Blueprints design. for example is the statement of the people who run it.‘
The Lisi8—21 July l9889