Book Review: RGB, Reviewing Graphics in Britain

6611.jpgRGB, Reviewing Graphics in Britain, by Marc Valli and Richard Brereton (available on Amazon USA and UK.)

Publisher Actar writes: What design scene is as diverse or cosmopolitan, more rich in influences and references, as packed with new trends and original ideas, as teeming with talent and ambition than the UK? To stand out in this overcrowded arena, British graphic designers have had to make their work ever more clever and polished, better informed. This fuels the distinctive, refined styles of such artists as Mark Farrow, Sea, Spin, Browns, Fuel, James Joyce, Zak, Studio 8 and Bibliotek. With such a wealth of talent and material, the main question in compiling a book on the best of new British design is not what to put in, but what to leave out. Stylistic novelty and visual distinctiveness are our key parameters, rather than background or reputation. RGB features artists from highly diverse backgrounds, from household names to the newest young talents. RGB captures the UK’s explosively vibrant and unpredictable realm of graphic design, in 288 pages packed with exciting visual material.

image_thick_1.jpgEmily Forgot, Tall Tales, Thick & Thin

I’ve always had a soft spot for Brit graphics. From the London metro map to the shockingly appealing packaging of potato chips by a brand called Crips.

RGB adopts the formula that has made the success of Actar’s books on graphic designs: 95% big, glossy images + 5% texts made of an intro and brief interviews with the designers. The Q&A goes straight to the point with questions such as: What’s your background? How did you start your studio? How about your influences and sources of inspirations? The designers are also invited to reflect on contemporary design in the UK.

RGB is not a historical book, its authors deliberately leave aside designers from the ’80s and ’90s to focus on the production from the past 5 to 10 years. The biggest challenge for them was to define or at least circumscribe what is British. The country is indeed notoriously cosmopolitan with many designers studying or working in London while their passport indicates that they belong to another nation. On the other hand, British graphic designers take advantage of the internet and other technologies to work from abroad. Brereton and Valli avoided the headache by looking for a sense of ‘belonging’, for works that fit into the UK’s visual art scene.

A few graphic designers whose work i discovered in the book:

Anthony Burrill:

Anthony Burrill, Michelle Plays Ping Pong. In collaboration with Paul Plowman and Malcolm Goldie

James Joyce:

898612_kemistry_02.jpgJames Joyce, Solo exhibition of works at the Kemistry gallery in London, 2008

01coleltltr.jpgAnthony Burrill, Temporary window designs for Colette, Paris

Emily Forgot:

if you could_2.jpgEmily Forgot, If You Could

iWant Design:

NEWS_wild1.jpgiWant Design, Going Wild – Client : London Wildlife Trust

news_apr10_6.jpgiWant Design, Tracey Thorn album campaign – Client : Strange Feeling Records

2060ff.jpgStudio 8, Rainforest Action Network

MOS18th_3_900-400x600.pngStudio Output, Ministry of Sound’s 18th birthday

Views inside the book:

4665807747_23a30dbab3_b.jpg4665789481_5cb036bf2b_b.jpg4665803061_52717df006_b.jpgFlick through a selection of 88 pages from the book.

Previously: Data Flow 2: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design, Neuland, The future of German graphic design, Tactile – High Touch Visuals, Super Holland Design, JPG 2: Japan Graphics.