“I think we’re at another crossroads, aren’t we, in terms of our communication space?” says graphic designer, typographer, and art director Neville Brody. It’s one of the reasons why now felt like an appropriate time to publish a third monograph under the umbrella The Graphic Language of Neville Brody, which was first published in 1986 and joined by a follow-up in 1994.
Three decades have since passed, yet Brody was still unsure whether he would have enough work to go in a new book. After all, the work that catapulted him to fame, and cemented him as a revered designer, came in the 80s and 90s. But it turns out he had more than enough projects for a third title. This installment is “the thickness of books one and two, plus double the amount of work on those pages”, he explains. He had to cut out around half of the projects he wanted to include, and still it is a substantial tome. He has laboured over it for five or six years, curating, editing, producing, designing, writing extended captions. (Adrian Shaughnessy, the book’s co-author, wrote introductory texts, while Steven Heller, Jo-Ann Furniss, and Naomi Hirabayashi also contributed texts.)
Leaving such a broad window between books two and three inevitably invites reflection on then and now, comparisons between the industry he joined and the one he finds himself in today. “Things have evolved, but then in revisiting some of that work, I think the stuff that was being done by graphic designers 30 years ago in some way looks more modern than modern graphic design,” he says. “It’s quite shocking to realise how much freedom we had then and how little we have now in digital form.”