Neville Brody is perhaps one of the best known and influential typeface designers of his generation. He is recognized for his work on record covers, magazines and typeface designs in that he transforms the way in which designers and readers approach typography and layout. The creative expression that Brody captures in his work was heavily impacted by pop culture that took place in London as well as the legacy Dadaism. He was among many of artists that capitalized on the creative potential of Apple Macintosh computers and became custom to electronic and digital type. Brody pushes every possible visual boundaries to its full potention and trys to break new creative innovations.
Brody was born in 1957 and grew up in Southgate, which is a suburb of North London. In 1975 he attended the Fine Art Foundation Program at Hornsey College of Art, in which he decided to pursue a career in graphics instead of the fine Arts. The school was notorious for intense student protests which might explain why Brody later on becomes more experimental throughout his educational progression. One year after attending Hornsey College in 1976 Brody started a three-year Bachelors of Arts course in graphics at the London College of Printing now known as London College of Communication. It is said personally by Brody that he did not enjoy his time there but it was an essential part of his progression as a designer.
Throughout his attendance at London College of Communication he tried to communicate to a larger audience and also created work that was more personal and less manipulative. In 1977 punk rock began to flourish upon London life and while this had great impact upon Brody's work and motivation he did not receive much positive credism for his professors or fellow peers. His tutors and fellow classmates often condemned his work as Uncommercial and experimental. Following the rebellious and radical views of punk Brody was almost expelled from the college for using the Queen's head sideways on a postage stamp design. In spite of the this episode he was giving the oppurnitiy to design various posters for student concerts at the college, most notably for Pere Ubu. Like Brody, the pop group was engaged with experimentation except in the form of rock music.
Brody was not only motivated by the energies of pop cultural. His first year thesis was based around a comparison between Dadaism and pop art. Most of Neville Brody's work matched the abstract, contemporary, and political views of Dadaism and Pop Art. He is a well-rounded graphic designer that has not just focused on one area in the design world. Photography by Man Ray and Lazlo Maholy influenced Brody to seek after the ability to go beyond the limits of art by inventing and manipulating techniques never used before. He eventually became one of the most sought after graphic artists in the 1980's.
After college Neville Brody began to design numerous record covers for independent record companies in the British music industry such as Rocking, Russian, Stiff Records, and Fetish Records. He worked on album covers for such renowned artist as Cabaret Voltaire and 23 Skiddo. His outrageous design work was readily accepted by these record establishments because of his concern with the ideas behind the music not the actual music. The budget in which he had to work under was considerably low so his work was usually hand made and printed with a four-color process. Looking at most of his early sleeve designs, he used strong geometric grids formed by type, multiple layers and various irregular shaped images.
After leaving his mark on the record industry Neville Brody began to work with the magazine medium. In 1981 he worked for a magazine called," The Face" in which was a newly published fashion magazine and later became the art director of the magazine up until 1986. His work on "The Face" was heavily influenced by the artistic ideas surrounding the 1920s and 1930s such as Russian Contructivism and the De Stijl movement. Neville Brody put much thought into his layouts and devoted much time in making the magazine visually exciting and appealing so that readers would stare at a page rather then just glance through. In numerous unique layouts he handled type both horizontally and vertically on the page and used images in contrast from hand drawn to photography. He explored every characteristic of legibility and went to the extreme limits with his layouts. In many publications of "The Face", he experiemented with new typographic styles and redefined the relationship between photography and text.
Neville Brodys ideas of making the viewer more active in interpreting the content and design of magazines, internationally impacted magazine appearance, advertising and retailing design. For example, on the July 1983 cover, he went against normal layout standards by only showing a fraction of the face of an artist rather than revealing his entire face safetly justified in the center of the page. He managed to design impressive and rule breaking layouts, while not losing focus on keeping the design functional for its viewers. Brody explained that, a great design can impress a reader with a dynamic layout while at the same time not hinder the reader's experience, instead enchance it. Working on "The Face", helped him acquire other related jobs. In 1983 to 1987 he worked with the London program magazine called "City Limits" in which he used similar layout methods as previous magazine designs. Soon after that he became the art director of well known men's magazine in 1987 to 1990, called "Arena". Really interested in typography and designing his own typefaces, he established FontWorks in 1990 in London, England and became the director of FontShop International in Berlin. Here is where he designed a typeface called Insignia for the headline face for the "Arena" magazine in which had basic forms of contructed grotesque. His influence behind the typeface came from the "New Typography of the Bauhaus during the 1930s. Insignia has many round and sharp forms and is recognizable as one of the cutting edge classics of the current computer era. This typeface and others received international recognition and later became apart of Linotype.
Neville Brody captivated the world by launched his own studio formly called "The Studio", but in 1994 was changed to "Reasearch Studios". He also created an award-winning interactive magazine that focuses on digital typeography called, "FUSE" which today is still in circulation. Fuse was published by Font Shop, Which Brody was a key partner of, for which he has designed many typefaces, including Industria and Blur. Neville Brody became increasly more popular after he published his two monographs, The Graphic Language of Neville Brody. The book has sold over 120,000 copies and still to this day is the world's best selling graphic design books. Shortly after his this big success, Brody held exhibit of his work that astoundling brought more then 40,000 visitors. These major accomplishments granted him large followings and high status among peers, as well as media attention.
In 1994 he put most of his focus into "Research Studios", partnering up with his friend, Fwa Richards. Research Studios is a unique network who work from a wide variety of design platforms for a diverse range of international clients. The studio is known for its ability to create new visual communication techniques for clients in various medias such as production and film. They have been involved in numerous projects with clients such as BBC, Sony Playstation, D&AD, The Times, Nike, Dorn Perignon, Parco, Bonfire Snowboarding, The Barbican, Asics, The ICA, Apple, Microsoft, MTV, Issey Miyake, Philips, Bentley, Kenzo, Chloe, Martell, Salomon, The Guardian, Deutsche Bank, YSL Wallpaper, Homechoice, and Paramount Studios. Recent projects include typeface design for "New Deal" originally used for the 2009 film by Micheal Mann, Public Enemies and Peace 2 developed for "Wallpaper" magazines August 2009 edition. The companys success allow Brody and his partner to launch additional studios in Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and New York.
Today, in addition to lecturing and contributing to a variety of cultural and educational initiatives, Brody works both independently on private commissions and alongside Reaserch Studios commercial projects. Recently in 2006, he was elected to redesign, The Times, with addition of a new font called Times Modern. This typeface is similar to an earlier font called Mercury. In juxtaposition with Research Studios, Neville Brody launched another studio called "Research Publishing". Unlike its ancestor, this sister company focuses on assisting young artists with creating and publishing experimental work. The FUSE magazine is also one of Brodys main projects in which he continues to publish more discussions on on experimental typography and communications.
Neville Brody has pushed the boundaries of visual communication and has challenged not only himself but also the world around him. He has always been a bold and secure designer who risks things and pushes things to the limits by taking them to their extremes. He first appeared in the 1980's by making an impact in the British graphic design world by stepping out of the norm and creating new unthought-of of or unheard of designing concepts and views, keeping with his original rebellious influences from the Punk era. He continues to test the waters by creating controversial or new unique works. He once stated, "I see my role partly as a catalyst for thought and for questioning. A lot of our work is an open-ended statement which often is not completed until the person who looks at it has reached his or her own conclusion," which sums up all of what he accomplished and continues to accomplish.