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An interview with Neville Brody (Guardian)
© Guardian Newspaper 1996
Face Lift For The Web, Thurs 8th Aug '96

Born in North London in April 1957, Neville Brody studied Graphic Design at both Hornsey College of Art and the London College of Printing. His first job was with 'Rocking Russian', a small studio concentrating mainly on record sleeve design. It was here that Brody developed the practical skills required to translate his expressive designs into print.


He refined his ideas further during stints with other independent record labels such as Stiff Records and Fetish Records (where he was Art Director). It was with Fetish that Brody developed his unique design philosophy and his concern that design should be a dialogue used to reveal, rather than conceal.


However, it was during his time as Art Director of The Face magazine, shortly after its launch in 1980, that Brody's work first gained public recognition. By then his focus had shifted from image creation towards type experimentation and his work during this period was widely acclaimed and hugely influential - transforming magazine design all over the world in ways which are still evident to this day.


Brody's ideas continued to evolve after he left The Face to become Art Director of the newly-launched men's magazine, Arena. His reputation brought a host of other magazine design commissions from New Socialist, City Limits and Tatler - along with three European titles: Lei, Per Lui and Actuel.


In 1990, Brody and Stuart Jensen formed Fontworks, a font distribution company set up to supply the burgeoning new market for digital typefaces. He is still involved with Fontworks in a design and advisory capacity and took a leading role in projects such as 'Fuse', the experimental typography magazine which showcased new work from renowned designers and which has won several design awards.


In conjunction with Fontworks, Brody also helped organise the Fuse94 conference at the Royal College of Art. Over 600 delegates were attracted to speeches by radical and forward thinking typographic and graphic designers. The conference also featured a computer workshop which was broadcast live on the internet and linked up with concurrent workshops in Japan, Europe and the United States.


Brody's work and that of his company, Research Studios, has continued to evolve and expand into a bewildering range of different projects and innovative initiatives - many of them for international clients. His accomplishments include a set of postage stamps for the Nederland PTT, a signage system for the National Gallery of Germany, a set of posters for the Hayward Gallery's exhibition of Magnum photographers and a special design for the United Nations UK UN50 campaign.


He has provided art direction for the Guardian and Observer newspapers and his work for television includes projects for Channel 4, LWT and Cine Cinq as well as a complete graphic identity for Premiere, the German Pay TV channel, where Brody continues to be a consultant design director. He also undertook a major three-year contract to completely redesign the identity of the Austrian state national broadcasting system, ORF.


So far the studio has completed work on three movies - 'Hackers', a film about computer hackers from United Artists featuring over 100 interactive screens; 'Judge Dredd' starring Sylvester Stallone and 'Maceo', a movie about the musician Maceo Parker. The studio also produced all the interactive computer sequences for 'Mission Impossible', as recently heavily featured on Apple's web site. Work was also completed on the titles for 'The Secret Agent' and Michael Mann's 'Heat'.


Other varied clients include La Fura Dels Baus performance group in Spain, the Sarawak tropical forest preservation campaign in Japan, the Schauspielhaus theatre in Hamburg and AgfaType worldwide. Research Studio's other clients include: Men's Bigi, Nike, The Body Shop, The British Council, Parco, The National Theatre, Katherine Hamnett, Swatch, Armand Basi, The Museum of Modern Art, Vitsoe, Asics, Toray and Philips,


The studio designed the Design Year Book 1994 and a second volume of The Graphic Language of Neville Brody of which over 25,000 copies were sold within two months of publication. G1, a book covering recent global idea developments in design was also produced by the studio and published in 1996.


Available from the Bookstore at £24.95
Or contact sales@type.co.uk


Brody's and Research Studios latest projects include a new CD-ROM publishing company, an Interactive project for electronic communication and a range of new clients including: Deutsche Bank, Sony, Pepsi, Mercedes, Scitex and Expo '98. Meanwhile, work is continuing on the major new visual language project for Macromedia , covering all areas of print and electronic communication from corporate identity to packaging.

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