Neville Brody is an English graphic designer, typographer and art director. He is an alumnus of the London College of Printing and Hornsey College of Art, and is known for his work on The Face magazine (1981–1986) and Arena magazine (1987–1990), as well as for designing record covers for artists such as Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode. He created the company Research Studios in 1994 and is a founding member of Fontworks. He is the new Head of the Communication Art & Design department at the Royal College of Art.
Early life and education
Neville Brody was born in Southgate, London on 23 April 1957. He attended Minchenden Grammar school and studied A-Level Art, very much from a fine art viewpoint. In 1975 Brody went on to do a Fine Art foundation course at Hornsey College of Art, once renowned for its late sixties agitation, now part of Middlesex University.
In autumn 1976, Brody started a three-year B.A. course in graphics at the London College of Printing. His tutors often condemned his work as "Uncommercial", often putting a heavy emphasis on safe and tested economic strategies, as opposed to experimentation.
By 1977, punk rock was beginning to have a major effect upon London life and, while this had a great impact upon Brody's work and motivation, was not well received by his tutors. At one point he was almost thrown out of the college for putting the Queen's head sideways on a postage stamp design. He did, however, get the chance to design posters for student concerts at the college, most notably for Pere Ubu, supported by The Human League.
In spite of the postage stamp episode, Brody was not only motivated by the energies of punk. His first-year thesis had been based around a comparison between Dadaism and pop art.
Initially working in record cover design, Brody made his name largely popular through his revolutionary work as Art Director for The Face magazine when it was first published in 1980. Other international magazine and newspaper directions have included City Limits, Lei, Per Lui, Actuel and Arena, together with the radical new look for two leading British newspapers The Guardian and The Observer (both newspaper and magazine). Brody has pushed the boundaries of visual communication in all media through his experimental and challenging work, and continues to extend the visual languages we use through his exploratory creative expression. In 1988 Thames & Hudson published the first of two volumes about his work, which became the world's best selling graphic design book. Combined sales now exceed 120,000. An accompanying exhibition of his work at the Victoria and Albert Museum attracted over 40,000 visitors before touring Europe and Japan. Amongst countless other projects, in 1989, upon request by the then-director Gerhard Coenen, to Neville Brody, the young Swiss graphic artist and typeface designer Cornel Windlin, then working at the then called "Neville Brody Studio" designed the Corporate Identity for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin, Germany. Subsequently, Brody, Windlin, and staff Simon Staines, Giles Dunn and others visited Berlin more than once on projects; resulting in several collaborations with Berlin-based graphic artist and typeface-designer Kolja Gruber and artist Nina Fischer for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in the following years.
1994 to present
Neville Brody still also continues to work as a graphic designer and together with business partner Fwa Richards launched his own design practice, Research Studios, in London in 1994. Since then studios have been opened in Paris, Berlin and Barcelona. The company is best known for its ability to create new visual languages for a variety of applications ranging from publishing to film. It also creates innovative packaging and website design for clients such as Kenzo, corporate identity for clients such as Homechoice, and on-screen graphics for clients such as Paramount Studios, makers of the Mission Impossible films.
Recent projects include the redesign of the BBC in September 2011, The Times in November 2006 with the creation of a new font Times Modern. The typeface shares many visual similarities with Mercury designed by Jonathan Hoefler. It is the first new font at the newspaper since it introduced Times New Roman in 1932.
The company also completed a visual identity project for the famous Paris contemporary art exhibition Nuit Blanche in 2006.
Brody’s team launched a new look for the champagne brand Dom Pérignon in February 2007, having been appointed in 2004 to help the brand with its strategy and repositioning. A sister company, Research Publishing, produces and publishes experimental multi-media works by young artists. The primary focus is on FUSE, the conference and quarterly forum for experimental typography and communications. The publication is approaching its 20th issue over a publishing period of over ten years. Three FUSE conferences have so far been held, in London, San Francisco and Berlin. The conferences bring together speakers from design, architecture, sound, film and interactive design and web.
He was one of the founding members of FontShop http://www.fontshop.com in London and designed a number of notable typefaces for them. He was also partly responsible for instigating the FUSE project an influential fusion between a magazine, graphics design and typeface design. Each pack includes a publication with articles relating to typography and surrounding subjects, four brand new fonts that are unique and revolutionary in some shape or form and four posters designed by the type designer usually using little more than their included font. In 1990 he also founded the FontFont typeface library together with Erik Spiekermann.
Notable fonts include the updated font for the Times newspaper, Times Modern, New Deal as used in publicity material and titles for the film Public Enemies and Industria.