Winter 2002

Jack of all trades (and master of most) (extract)

Device

By Rian Hughes
Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, £27.99

Will the real Rian Hughes please stand up? There’s Hughes the cartoonist (Dare, The Science Service); Hughes the typographer (his font foundry is called Device); Hughes the graphic designer (countless book jackets and CD sleeves); Hughes the animator (the safety videos for Virgin Atlantic); and Hughes the critic (see ‘Meanwhile in the weird world of art’, Eye no. 39 vol. 10). All of which has left him open to the accusation of being a jack of all trades and master of none. Hardly fair, as the consistently high quality of this collection attests [. . .]

Be warned that this is a picture book – the three pages of commentary out of 300 do not give enough insight into the creative decisions made and the ‘let me empty my hard drive’ relentlessness of the images can be overwhelming. But as a vibrant sampler of one of the most successful and prolific British illustrator-designers of the past twenty years, this is one Device that any aspiring all-rounder should own.