Jonathan Barnbrook

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Jonathan Barnbrook

The Greatest Graphic Designers of All Time – #6

‘KJI’ (KFC parody).

If graphic design had its own Banksy minus the secret identity then the comparison would go to Jonathan Barnbrook. This maestro of politically charged graphic design is unquestionably one of the most important figures in modern graphic design. His work is a combination of biting satire and outrageous humor.

He’s known mainly for designing the packaging for David Bowie’s albums from Heathen (2002) to Blackstar (2016).


Jonathan Barnbrook was born in 1966, in Luton, England. He was educated at Saint Martin’s School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, both of which are located in London. From 1997 to 2003 Barnbrook collaborated with the renowned artist Damien Hirst.

He provided the design, layout and font of Hirst’s 2006 book I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now. Barnbrook would later assist Hirst with the latter’s restaurant, ‘Pharmacy’, which opened in 1998 and closed in 2003.

Barnbrook also created his own typography, including but not limited to Bastard, False Idol, Infidel, Newspeak and Olympukes.

Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick, 2016.

In 2002 Barnbrook received the honor of designing the cover artwork for David Bowie’s album Heathen, where he used the ‘Priori’ font. Bowie’s last albums would be designed with a specific font each. He cites record cover artwork as a primary influence.

His trademark political style is inspired by the détournement method. This approach, made famous by the Situationist International, is used to deface corporate advertising and turn it against itself. Using design as a weapon for social change, Barnbrook’s major influence is described as “an inner anger which is a response to all the unfairness that is in this world”.


David Bowie

Heathen (2002)


Reality (2003)


The Next Day (2013)


Nothing Has Changed (2014)

Blackstar (2016)


Political/Social Graphic Design


Adbusters No. 37



Strike! Sept-Oct 2015 cover.


McDonald’s parody.

Time and a word…

Are you a political graphic designer/cartoonist with big plans for the world? Frustrated that your information is not getting out there? Then visit Lemaar I.T. in Wealdstone and we can get to talking about what we can do for you.


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