Rick Poynor

Recent articles by Rick Poynor

Experiments in destabilisation

Issue 102, Autumn 2021

Opinion

A CalArts book celebrates decades of purposeful graphic weirdness. Critique by Rick Poynor

Los Angeles’ lost palace of treasures

Issue 101, Summer 2021

Opinion

Using photographic evidence, designer Mark Nelson has reconstructed one of the great twentieth-century art collections. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Heroes of wealth and power

Opinion

An essay published in Mack’s new ‘Discourse’ series accuses three prominent photographers of creating propaganda for global capitalism. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Godard becomes ‘Godard’

Opinion

In 1961, the new wave director posed for a German fashion photographer. The publicity pictures that followed are as self-reflexive as his films. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Palaces of petroleum

Opinion

The adventurous design of a 1960 book promoting Australia’s fossil fuel industry offers a poignant glimpse of an optimistic, unquestioning age.Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

The haunted shore

Opinion

Images of spectral sea-bathers haunt the light-filled pages of Nigel Grierson’s self-published photobook. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Netherworld of crime

Opinion

A new book expands upon an impressionistic photo-essay about crime by Gordon Parks, including images not published at the time. By Rick Poynor

Eye’s early years

Issue 100, Summer 2020

Feature

Founding editor Rick Poynor recalls the aims and ideas behind the launch of an independent design magazine [EXTRACT]

Recolouring the past

Opinion

At a time when image falsification is a source of concern, the digital colourisation of documentary photographs is a retreat from the truth. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Instant object of desire

Opinion

A Polaroid photo’s aura of ephemeral uniqueness lies in its small white frame and supercharged surface. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Whiteness made strange

Opinion

A brave, if flawed book of artists’ photographs addresses racism through the lens of white privilege. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Scalpel sharp

Opinion

A UK retrospective examines the explosive photomontages of feminist artist Linder, from the shock of her punk collages to pictures that juxtapose provocation with flowers and dance

Among the spirits

Opinion

Nadav Kander’s poetic and mysterious portraits of celebrities steal the limelight in his new book The Meeting. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Four-wheeled dreams

Opinion

A new V&A book of photographs of cars fails to acknowledge the bigger picture. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Traces of longing

Issue 99, Autumn 2019

Opinion

For Belgian collagist Katrien De Blauwer, making work is both an obsession and an act of therapy. By Rick Poynor

Defiance and revelation

Opinion

A new book of Peter Kennard’s work adds context and background detail to his angry, radical photomontages. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Banquet of images

Opinion

For its 50th anniversary, the Arles festival stages a generous array of contemporary and historical exhibitions. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor.

Nature in captivity

Opinion

Luigi Ghirri’s rigorously composed pictures of 
plants outside people’s homes exercise a banal fascination. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

A confederacy of lunches

Opinion

A text-only book argues that ‘social’ photography is more about self-documentation than aesthetics. By Rick Poynor

Two cheers for publishing

Issue 98, Spring 2019

Feature

A two-volume book packed with graphic design history is a visual blockbuster, but does little for scholarship. By Rick Poynor

Posters for the people

Issue 98, Spring 2019

Opinion

Photographs by the Polish designer Wojciech Zamecznik investigate the use of posters as public communication By Rick Poynor

Catalogue of things

Opinion

A close relative’s colour slides show a densely layered record of everyday life. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

From out of the blue

Opinion

Volume one of Anna Atkins’ beautiful study of British algae, issued in 1843, was the first ever publication to be printed using photography. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Awkward objects

Opinion

The tradition of the painted still life has been reinvented by contemporary photographers with pictures that pose a puzzle and slow the viewer down. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Streets without people

Opinion

Emigre’s Rudy VanderLans explores the clotted terrain of Tokyo’s Shibuya and Shinjuku districts with the eye of a graphic designer

Hole in the head

Opinion

An artful book of deliberately torn, anonymous photographs from the Cold War era leaves many questions unanswered. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Hardcore history

Issue 97, Autumn 2018

Review

More than 40 years after punk happened, the phenomenon is still being fêted as a…

Cinematic view

Issue 97, Autumn 2018

Opinion

A recent edition of Aperture examines the enduring affinity between two art forms. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Twisting the alien

Opinion

Set to minimalist techno, Arthur Jafa’s APEX is a cycle of images that illuminate the condition of black people within white-dominated culture. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Scenes from an imperfect world

Opinion

Even Don McCullin expressed doubts about his photographs of war and suffering. What is their message today? Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Emotion pictures

Opinion

Alex Prager’s ravishing tableaux mix glamour and unease. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

No fixed style

Issue 96, Spring 2018

Review

Among British independent record companies, Mute Records, founded in 1978 by ‘accident’, has never enjoyed…

Mining the ruins

Issue 96, Spring 2018

Opinion

When petrol replaced coal, the island of Hashima lost its purpose and slowly decayed. Rick Poynor examines a new photobook haunted by the past

Enigmas of abstraction

Opinion

Photography records with startling accuracy. Why use it to create non-representational images? Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Different kinds of marginal

Opinion

Diane Arbus’s unsparing images retain their power to discomfit. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Colour field

Opinion

By choosing colour over black-and-white, Joel Meyerowitz pioneered a new type of American street photography. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Fabricated reality

Opinion

Andreas Gursky’s photographs, manipulated like digital paintings, have spectacular impact. But they can display a lofty detachment from their subjects. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Witness of the moment

Opinion

A book of informal interviews with Henri Cartier-Bresson is testament to a great photographer’s intuitive eye. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Exposing the menace

Issue 95, Winter 2018

Feature

David King’s posters integrated type and image with power and uncompromising political commitment. By Rick Poynor

Relentless riches

Issue 95, Winter 2018

Opinion

A busy blockbuster traces the stunning history of Japanese photobooks. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Mississippi dreaming

Opinion

Alec Soth’s photographic journey along the Mississippi merges the documentary with the poetic. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Graphic language of the wall

Opinion

Brassaï’s photographs of graffiti with handwritten typographic treatments made striking, almost punkish paperback covers for Le Livre de Poche

Bauhäuslers at rest and play

Issue 94, Summer 2017

Review

When we think of the photographic experiments of the 1920s, what immediately comes to mind…

Beyond context

Issue 94, Summer 2017

Opinion

Mysterious equipment, unknown officials and arcane activities combine in a photobook that is testament to the art of selection and editing. Photo Critique By Rick Poynor

The joy and sadness of dust

Opinion

A familiar domestic nuisance provides the theme for this ambiguous and labyrinthine exhibition. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Inner space man

Opinion

Mike Halliwell’s montages illustrate J. G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition with a flair that evokes the late author’s own experiments with cut and paste. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Age of the female gaze

Opinion

Girl on Girl – a new survey of 40 contemporary photographers – raises questions about the nature of representation without necessarily answering them. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Double satori

Opinion

For photographer Sergio Larrain (1931-2012), making pictures was a form of spiritual quest. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Modernist cottage industry

Issue 93, Winter 2017

Feature

For more than a decade, Ruth Artmonsky has been publishing modest, readable books about design and illustration from her London flat

Reputations: Fuel

Issue 93, Winter 2017

Feature

‘We love collecting vernacular … it’s functional, not following a preconceived idea of what is correct. This can give it an unexpected quality … in “real” design all those elements are lost. Everything is too considered.’

Traces of a drifter

Issue 93, Winter 2017

Opinion

Camera in hand, Harry Pearce dives into the urban underbelly in search of the unfathomable. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Elton John's new vision

Opinion

‘The Radical Eye’, the superstar’s opulently framed collection of modernist photography, is a revelation. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Feminist scrutiny

Opinion

Photographs challenge norms of female sexuality, beauty and domesticity. The first in a new series of monthly Photo Critiques by Rick Poynor

Take my concept

Issue 92, Summer 2016

Feature

Boris Bućan’s early posters display an audacity that challenges divisions between graphic design and fine art

Browsing, or reading?

Issue 92, Summer 2016

Opinion

A new shop demonstrates the global resurgence of indie magazines. Critique by Rick Poynor

From trade to poetry

Issue 91, Spring 2016

Opinion

Barcelona’s new Museu del Disseny shows how design can claim a space for itself. Critique by Rick Poynor

Depth and ambiguity

Opinion

Another Way of Telling, by John Berger and Jean Mohr, extends the possibilities of the photographic narrative. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Cold War culture-jammer

Opinion

Hispanic photomonteur Josep Renau aimed Technicolor jets of scorn at the mirage of US consumerist culture. By Rick Poynor

Online rhetoric

Issue 90, Summer 2015

Opinion

Though intended to make its contents ‘democratic’, art website The Space is a perplexing jumble. Critique by Rick Poynor

Words and pictures talking

Opinion

Canongate has reissued John Berger and Jean Mohr’s A Fortunate Man, about Gloucestershire doctor John Sassall. How does it compare with the 1967 original? Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Trust me, I’m a photographer

Issue 89, Winter 2014

Review

I’m familiar with Joan Fontcuberta’s work, so I should have known better. The Spanish photographer…

Pay close attention

Issue 89, Winter 2014

Feature

Adam Michaels and Prem Krishnamurthy of Project Projects bring deep cultural engagement to every aspect of their practice, both in their client work and in their personal ventures

Against the flow

Issue 89, Winter 2014

Opinion

As editorial design becomes more predictable, Swedish feminist quarterly Bang kicks against visual norms. Critique by Rick Poynor

Energy and emotion

Opinion

Aperture’s new series of photography books may prove to be an essential educational resource for serious smartphone snappers

Readymade format

Issue 88, Summer 2014

Opinion

An illustrated ‘gift book’ dictionary by Heretic brings Marcel Duchamp’s ideas to a wider audience. Critique by Rick Poynor

The retoucher’s accidental art

Issue 88, Summer 2014

Feature

The reworked press photos now being discarded are unique objects and compellingly strange images. Raynal Pellicer has a collection

Photographer as page maker

Opinion

David Campany’s examination of Walker Evans’ freewheeling magazine work – for Fortune, Architectural Forum, Life, and others – is a revelation. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Space for stories

Issue 87, Spring 2014

Opinion

Visual Editions’ box of literary maps challenges authors to think differently about the structures that link words and images. Critique by Rick Poynor

Occupation hazardous

Opinion

For ‘place hackers’, subversive and daredevil urban explorers, photography validates a search for the sublime. Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Incisive vision

Issue 86, Autumn 2013

Opinion

Eduardo Paolozzi’s gifts as a collagist have been neglected by the worlds of both art and design. Critique by Rick Poynor

Empathy and doubt in Arles

Opinion

From the cool alienation of colour to the directness of black and white – Rick Poynor reflects on the 2013 Rencontres d’Arles photography festival. Critique by Rick Poynor

Screen prints

Issue 85, Spring 2013

Feature

Recently discovered posters for the RCA Film Society provide fresh perspective on the intimate relationship between graphics and cinema in the 1950s and 60s.

Identity crisis

Issue 85, Spring 2013

Opinion

Rebranding ITV was meant to generate a warm glow – not the heated reaction it received from viewers. Critique by Rick Poynor

Cold-blooded runaways

Opinion

A third edition of Redheaded Peckerwood, Christian Patterson’s ravishing photobook, gives this enduring American horror story another twist. Critique by Rick Poynor

An outlandish everyman

Issue 84, Autumn 2012

Opinion

These short films throw new light on the eccentric collaboration between 1960s film-maker / designer John Sewell and artist Bruce Lacey. Critique by Rick Poynor

Look south

Opinion

In the first of a new series of Photo Critiques, Rick Poynor examines The Latin American Photobook by Horacio Fernández. Critique by Rick Poynor

American Gothic

Issue 6, Spring 1992

Feature

Barry Deck’s Template Gothic is vernacular in inspiration and futuristic in effect. Is it a bizarre one-off, or the shape of typefaces to come?

A disappointing splash

Issue 83, Summer 2012

Review

The archly titled Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing has a semi-legendary reputation as both…

The woman who took on the Wolf Man

Issue 83, Summer 2012

Opinion

Sława Harasymowicz’s first foray into graphic novels illuminates a Freudian case history with thrilling clarity. Critique by Rick Poynor

Crash covers

Issue 52, Summer 2004

Feature

J. G. Ballard’s novel resists attempts to summarise it with a single image

Documents of the marvellous

Issue 65, Autumn 2007

Feature

The authentic spirit of Surrealism lives on – in projects based on curious collections that celebrate the strange and numinous

Is anybody out there reading?

Issue 9, Summer 1993

Review

One of the features of Octavo magazine that made it so appealing to anyone who…

The world made visible

Issue 62, Winter 2006

Feature

Motif, edited by Ruari McLean, was a quirky mix of art and illustration, with its roots in graphic art and typography

Iran’s tantalising visual revolution

Issue 62, Winter 2006

Review

This survey of new Iranian design work is exciting and frustrating in roughly equal measure…

Borderline

Issue 71, Spring 2009

Feature

Metahaven makes visual proposals that suggest a new role for graphic design in public life

Perfection of an empty page

Issue 13, Summer 1994

Review

The Japanese poster tradition has given us some of the most beautiful and, to western…

Parr’s ambivalent obsessions

Issue 74, Winter 2009

Review

‘Parrworld’, the title of Martin Parr’s latest exhibition, is a bold if not presumptuous declaration…

One week in pictures

Issue 73, Autumn 2009

Feature

Now we are deluged with more images than ever, we have lost faith in the power of the photo to express anything other than our personal reality. We don’t take the production of meaning seriously and we use pictures with less fluency and purpose than earlier generations of photographers, designers and editors. We don’t know what we’re trying to say and we don’t know who we are saying it for. We don’t value expertise and commitment and we don’t believe in the photographer’s mission – nor do we think it is likely to have any effect. Rick Poynor looks at one week’s magazine journalism, and finds that this ocean of pictures tells uncomfortable truths about who we are now

The shape of a pocket

Issue 81, Autumn 2011

Feature

In 1960s France, Henry Cohen’s inventive photographic covers made Gallimard’s Idées series required reading.

Essential on every level

Issue 66, Winter 2007

Review

The title of Stephen Shore’s The Nature of Photographs promises to peel its subject to…

Protest minus the politics

Issue 12, Spring 1994

Review

The 1990s began ostensibly as the decade of ‘caring and sharing’, with politicians such as…

Machine head

Issue 75, Spring 2010

Feature

Fritz Kahn commissioned illustrators to realise his surreal pedagogical vision – mechanical metaphors for the human body.

Reputations: Robin Kinross

Issue 80, Summer 2011

Feature

‘It’s to do with meaning, which forces its way up like a root growing under a pavement – it breaks the paving stones. Many people would like these neat stones in a nice grid, but unfortunately there is this tree with all its pressures and necessities and you have to follow it.’

Glaser's genial self-portrait

Issue 39, Spring 2001

Review

I know I’m not alone when I say that Milton Glaser was the first graphic…

Running on empty

Issue 74, Winter 2009

Review

The work of artists such as Ed Ruscha, who base their art on language, raises…

Type as entertainment

Issue 7, Summer 1992

Feature

Why Not Associates are the wild boys of the British typographic scene … How do they get away with it?

Form follows purpose: Inkahoots (extract)

Issue 46, Winter 2002

Feature

Does this Brisbane studio offer a role model for socially concerned design? [EXTRACT]

Reg Mombassa (text in full)

Issue 46, Winter 2002

Feature

Mambo theology

Design is advertising #1: The whispering intruder

Issue 29, Autumn 1998

Feature

Advertising soaks into everything. It has become the texture of contemporary life. Graphic design has played a central part in this process. But does it have a viable role of its own?

Reputations: Rick Vermeulen

Issue 21, Summer 1996

Feature

‘I don’t think anything designed should be considered as art. It’s not only about the experimentation with form. There is always a client’

Reputations: Peter Saville

Issue 17, Summer 1995

Feature

‘This is a post-design era. It’s deliberately going against all those things that were canonised in the 1980s and are now exhausted.’

Knowing

Issue 24, Spring 1997

Feature

Mark Farrow’s minimalist graphics have won him a place in the profession’s mainstream usually denied to music designers

This signifier is loaded

Issue 22, Autumn 1996

Feature

Zurich designer Cornel Windlin is a fluent graphic stylist and a playful manipulator of communication codes

Other spaces

Issue 25, Summer 1997

Feature

Paul Elliman tells his students that “everything you know is wrong”, embracing error to find ideas where others see junk

Malcolm, Peter … and Keith

Issue 49, Autumn 2003

Feature

The British New Wave was born at a boys’ school near Manchester

Typographica

Issue 31, Spring 1999

Feature

Herbert Spencer’s magazine, a fusion of Modernism and eclecticism, was one of the most remarkable journals to emerge from British cultural publishing

The Dictionary of Visual Language

Issue 11, Winter 1993

Feature

Philip Thompson and Peter Davenport’s visual analysis of the graphic cliche is a design classic

Penguin crime

Issue 53, Autumn 2004

Feature

Romek Marber’s 1960s paperback identity is a landmark of independent British design

Reputations: Stephen Banham

Issue 46, Winter 2002

Feature

‘Helvetica has become the generic default, a safe formula under the guise of Modernism. It’s all smoke and mirrors.’

Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities

Issue 20, Spring 1996

Feature

As designer, writer and educator, Jeffery Keedy is a committed proponent of postmodernism

The celebrated Mr B

Issue 35, Spring 2000

Feature

The graphic output of one of Britain’s best loved artists, the originator of the iconic cover for Sgt. Pepper

Reputations: Pierre Bernard

Issue 3, Spring 1991

Feature

‘I don’t believe in revolutionary design, but I do believe that reactionary designs exist. It’s always easier to perpetuate the same forms and contents rather than to search out new ones.’ Why Grapus had to disband. Eye talks to founder Pierre Bernard

Fellapages

Issue 23, Winter 1996

Feature

For thirty years Edward Fella was a commercial artist. In his sketchbooks, he applies his mastery of lettering and illustration styles to brilliant improvisations

A designer and a one-man band

Issue 45, Autumn 2002

Feature

Cranbrook’s song and dance man goes back to college with a bang

Project for a New Novel

Issue 23, Winter 1996

Feature

J. G. Ballard’s ‘Project for a New Novel’ from the late 1950s makes text obsolete, and the author into the designer

Surface wreckage

Issue 34, Winter 1999

Feature

Three books showing accidental collages of torn posters an other random marks revive interest in a style of image-making drawn from the city streets

The designer as architect

Issue 32, Summer 1999

Feature

When Donald Wall made this book about Italian architect Paolo Soleri, he uncannily projected a vision of 1990s typography in its most radical form. By Rick Poynor

Don’t buy this

Issue 27, Spring 1998

Feature

Graphic agitation hits the high street in an installation for Friends of the Earth that questions the material obsessions of global consumerism. By Rick Poynor

Information sculpture

Issue 13, Summer 1994

Feature

Tomato are a group of friends, a physical space somewhere in Soho, a multimedia workshop, descendents of Warhol’s Factory… anything but a design group. ‘Graphic design?’ they say. ‘We don’t know what it is’

Reputations: Jon Barnbrook, Virus

Issue 15, Winter 1994

Feature

One of type design’s young stars talks about his new company and the pressures of early success.

Design is advertising #2: Nomadic resistance

Issue 30, Winter 1998

Feature

Faced by oppressive visual pollution, many designers feel powerless. Yet the visual realm can be turned into a vital site of political and cultural action

Maps and dreams

Issue 2, Winter 1990

Feature

No printing method is too basic for Jake Tilson. Created with photocopiers, his books, magazines and objects are crammed with offbeat invention.

What is this thing called graphic design criticism?

Issue 16, Spring 1995

Feature

In the last ten years a substantial body of critical writing on graphic design has amassed. In this transatlantic dialogue, Rick Poynor and American design critic Michael Rock explore the state of design criticism now and put the arguments for different approaches

Reputations: Katherine McCoy

Issue 16, Spring 1995

Feature

After Cranbrook: Katherine McCoy on the way ahead

First Things First Manifesto 2000

Issue 33, Autumn 1999

Feature

Thirty-three visual communicators renew the 1964 call for a change of priorities

Reputations: Dan Fern

Issue 22, Autumn 1996

Feature

‘A lot of illustration sits very awkwardly alongside the contemporary digital typography scene. It can look naive, almost folksy’

Reputations: Malcolm Garrett

Issue 12, Spring 1994

Feature

‘I figure it’s my job to be this kind of blinkered believer. You know: I am the new futurist, I will live in the technological world.’

Both ends burning

Issue 11, Winter 1993

Feature

Fuel is a magazine, a design team, and a four letter word. Their style is tough, but ambiguous, too

Dark tools of desire

Issue 63, Spring 2007

Feature

Surrealism’s relationship with graphic design is still strangely unfulfilled. By Rick Poynor

Reputations: Alan Fletcher

Issue 2, Winter 1990

Feature

An interview with Pentagram’s ringmaster of paradox.

Reputations: Neville Brody

Issue 6, Spring 1992

Feature

‘People are using the computer in a very rigid, pseudo-religious way and we are trying to say that the technology is simply a tool of communication and should be treated as organically as any other tool.’

Typotranslation

Issue 38, Winter 2000

Feature

In a typographic tour de force, Richard Hamilton has turned Duchamp’s notes for the Large Glass into printed form

Biography of a special case

Issue 38, Winter 2000

Review

Robin Kinross’s book about Anthony Froshaug has been anticipated in typographic circles for many years…

Look inward: graphic design in Australia

Issue 46, Winter 2002

Feature

Is Australia’s global cultural impact reflected in its graphic design?

Love of lexicons

Issue 78, Winter 2010

Feature

The dictionary framework allows readers to find random nuggets of information, forging connections that reflect the arbitrary nature of life.

Looking for clues

Issue 55, Spring 2005

Feature

Notebook in hand, Paul Davis works like a journalist, trying to figure out what makes us tick

Graphic and grotesque

Opinion

Hidden Treasure, in its reflection of our bodies in all their pathos and horror, has a morbid but irresistible attraction. Critique by Rick Poynor

Brand madness 2

Issue 54, Winter 2004

Opinion

Letter from Rick Poynor

Regeneration X

Issue 82, Winter 2012

Opinion

Laura Oldfield Ford’s grainy Savage Messiah brings new urgency to an updated punk aesthetic. Critique by Rick Poynor

Scarcity and silence: Amc2 Journal

Opinion

An image-led journal marries the serendipitous collisions of image-sharing sites with the physicality of print. Critique by Rick Poynor

The list goes on

Issue 81, Autumn 2011

Opinion

Umberto Eco’s book The Infinity of Lists is erudite, informative and beautifully crafted: a contemporary Wunderkammer. Critique by Rick Poynor

Love’s labour’s lost

Opinion

The Guardian has given up on its clear and elegant film rental site, redirecting its users to the clunky Love Film interface. Critique by Rick Poynor

Dark Magus

Issue 80, Summer 2011

Opinion

Designer John Coulthart’s daily blog on the fantastical is erudite, prescient and admirably mind-expanding. Critique by Rick Poynor

Commitment to content

Opinion

Criterion’s DVD covers show that seduction by packaging remains a fiendishly irresistible (and difficult) art. Critique by Rick Poynor

Kiki in graphic detail

Issue 79, Spring 2011

Opinion

Catel’s quick-fire sketches illustrate the life of the young model who became a Surrealist icon and Man Ray’s muse. Critique by Rick Poynor

French connections

Opinion

Slender and serious, Back Cover is emerging as a Gallic platform for a resolutely non-American view of design

A soul drifting in neon limbo

Issue 78, Winter 2010

Opinion

The stroboscopic credits of Noé’s movie suck the viewer into an immersive maelstrom of lettering. Critique by Rick Poynor

Expression of faith

Opinion

Give the revered Irma Boom her head and what do you get? A catalogue like a truncated brick

California panorama

Issue 77, Autumn 2010

Opinion

Emigre’s latest type catalogue uses historical sources to display wildly varied fonts with rollicking gusto. Critique by Rick Poynor

Survivor

Opinion

Graphic designer Romek Marber bears witness to one of the great crimes of the past century. Critique by Rick Poynor

Left out of the frame

Issue 76, Summer 2010

Opinion

This collection of short COI films is full of fascinating details, but short on context. Critique by Rick Poynor

Poundtastic bombastic

Opinion

Is there is a graphic mismatch between Poundland’s presentation and its ambitions? Critique by Rick Poynor

The future is ours to see

Issue 75, Spring 2010

Opinion

SpaceCollective’s innovative website, at once lucid and intoxicating, adds substance to techno-hippie optimism. Critique by Rick Poynor

Mining the graphic mother-lode

Opinion

Rochester Institute of Technology opens its American design archive to the online world. Critique by Rick Poynor

All mouth and trousers?

Issue 74, Winter 2009

Opinion

Challenged to design a poster celebrating London, British designers show mostly how little they care for the form. Critique by Rick Poynor

Clever chameleon

Opinion

Rick Poynor examines Mono-Kultur, a smart and ‘exquisitely scaled’ independent publication. Critique by Rick Poynor

Framing the evidence of war

Issue 73, Autumn 2009

Opinion

By incorporating reportage of Russia’s Afghan war, this hybrid takes the graphic novel and photojournalism to new levels. Critique by Rick Poynor

The pleasures of browsing

Opinion

Rick Poynor plays ‘hotel inspector’ to find a bookshop that understands its books and readers: Sydney’s Published Art. Critique by Rick Poynor

Bad timing

Issue 72, Summer 2009

Opinion

In a new Obama-led world order, Omega’s lust for luxury seems as misplaced as a licence to kill. Critique by Rick Poynor

The canon, aimed at your back

Opinion

GenPrag’s T-shirts celebrate the most emblematic of twentieth-century graphic design heroes. So let’s have one for Will Burtin. Critique by Rick Poynor

Risk and ritual

Issue 71, Spring 2009

Opinion

Anne Harild’s work offers a challenge to the unthreatening norms of British illustration

Phil Baines and Typography Now

Issue 71, Spring 2009

Opinion

A letter from Rick Poynor

In passing: Obit

Opinion

This American blog-mag reminds us that obituaries are about lives lived. Critique by Rick Poynor

Riches and embarrassment

Issue 70, Winter 2008

Opinion

A book of Swiss competition winners makes a virtue of its cold and awkward design. Yet if the jury seeks debate, as it claims, it must be prepared to explain its decisions. Critique by Rick Poynor

Too gaudy for words

Opinion

Independent’s new clothes do nothing to establish a once elegant paper as a vital force. Critique by Rick Poynor

It’s the end of graphic design as we know it

Issue 69, Autumn 2008

Opinion

Rick Poynor responds to some perplexing findings at ‘New Views 2’

Revelations in style

Issue 69, Autumn 2008

Opinion

Gallimard’s Découvertes series secures readers’ loyalty by showing respect for their curiosity and intelligence. Critique by Rick Poynor

A persuasive chancer

Opinion

On the basis of its first issue The Happy Hypocrite is small, quietly experimental and just a bit passive aggressive. Critique by Rick Poynor

Absolutely the ‘worst’

Issue 68, Summer 2008

Opinion

How does a graphic work claim its place in history? Notoriety and originality helps, but nothing beats repeated publication. Critique by Rick Poynor

Shameless

Opinion

Hans-Peter Feldmann’s latest book celebrates the art of smoking

Portrait of the designer as author

Issue 67, Spring 2008

Opinion

Chip Kidd, designer and now novelist, is as skilled at crafting his own image as he is at creating other authors’ book covers. Critique by Rick Poynor

Dyed in the flesh (Web only)

Opinion

Cuppa Coffee’s end title sequence of Russian prison tattoos adds a masterly coda to Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises

Picture a story

Issue 66, Winter 2007

Opinion

Katy Homans’ daring and ambitious cover designs for New York Review Books confound expectations. Critique by Rick Poynor

The price of juice

Opinion

It looked dodgy on paper, but Applied Green was more than mere greenwash

Body of work (65)

Issue 65, Autumn 2007

Opinion

Extraordinary content and sensitive design establishes the Wellcome Collection as one of London’s essential museum stops

My (red and) white bicycle (Web only)

Opinion

Barcelona's Bicing is a triumph, but its logo seems to have been improvised with a magic marker.

Comfortably Numb (64)

Issue 64, Summer 2007

Opinion

Tyler Brûlé's high-flying monthly promises a cool, global perspective, but its attitudes to consumption are grounded in the 1980s

Out of the ordinary

Issue 63, Spring 2007

Opinion

Banal, amateur snapshots become almost poetic in these books by Fiona Tan

Cognitive dissonance (Web only)

Opinion

Martin Firrell’s work for Curzon Cinemas places public art in a commercial space

No animals or models were harmed…

Issue 62, Winter 2006

Opinion

Vogue’s fusion of high fashion with brutish behaviour besmirches readers by making abusive images acceptable. Critique by Rick Poynor

Drifters

Opinion

Kapitaal renders the cityscape as a waking dream of signs and symbols. Critique by Rick Poynor

Digital self-expression

Issue 61, Autumn 2006

Opinion

The MySpace phenomenon makes graphic expression as simple as swapping photos or keeping a diary. Critique by Rick Poynor

Beer: the real thing

Opinion

Beer labels promise authenticity and reliability. But what about taste? Critique by Rick Poynor

Swiss kitsch

Issue 60, Summer 2006

Opinion

Are installations the new billboards? Or the twinkling face of corporate propaganda? Critique by Rick Poynor

Finger on the trigger

Opinion

It's designed to shock, but Amnesty's arms trade ad is weak compared to Lord of War's brilliant titles. Critique by Rick Poynor

Digital history book

Issue 59, Spring 2006

Opinion

A website about Alvin Lustig pioneers the presentation of design history for the click-and-search generation. Critique by Rick Poynor

Bad language

Opinion

With talk of ‘pimping brands’, the ADC’s new campaign makes design look dumber than ever. Critique by Rick Poynor

The big picture

Issue 58, Winter 2005

Opinion

The Guardian’s new Eyewitness page uses single images on a central spread for maximum impact. Critique by Rick Poynor

Paste-up ladies

Opinion

Collage artist Graham Rawle has created a gripping and surreal novel entirely from words and phrases cut from 1960s women’s magazines. Critique by Rick Poynor

Expert flesh creepers

Issue 57, Autumn 2005

Opinion

Chris Cunningham’s new film is a stomach-churning diversion from our digitally finessed world. Critique by Rick Poynor

86 minutes of greatness

Opinion

The graphic sensibility of film-maker Geoffrey Jones. Critique by Rick Poynor

In the house

Issue 56, Summer 2005

Opinion

The new Vitra catalogue shows its classic furniture collection amid messy, real-life domesticity. Critique by Rick Poynor

Cakes in close-up

Opinion

Can Mr Kipling’s upmarket redesign compete with own-brand cakes and tarts on the UK’s supermarket shelves? Critique by Rick Poynor

Irony is not enough

Issue 55, Spring 2005

Opinion

When design’s concerns form the content of an artist’s book, does ‘good design’ matter? Critique by Rick Poynor

Hoot your trap off (Web only)

Opinion

The ad campaign for a satirical TV sitcom represents a new kind of subvertising. How cool is that? Critique by Rick Poynor

Second fiddle

Issue 54, Winter 2004

Opinion

Two high-profile fine art magazines treat themselves to typographic makeovers. Critique by Rick Poynor

Written all over the body

Issue 53, Autumn 2004

Opinion

An ‘encyclopaedia’ of Russian prison tattoos exposes a complex graphic subculture. Critique by Rick Poynor

In the crazily abundant world of Martin Friedl

Issue 52, Summer 2004

Opinion

777 pictograms conjure up a strange new graphic universe. Critique by Rick Poynor

Big fun with words

Issue 51, Spring 2004

Opinion

Do Zembla’s readers need this much graphic cheer-leading? Critique by Rick Poynor

The learning brand

Issue 50, Winter 2003

Opinion

Abstract covers give an identity to this ambitious book series. Critique by Rick Poynor

Evolutionary tales

Issue 49, Autumn 2003

Opinion

A new novel uses the possibilities of visual prose to tackle a timely subject. Critique by Rick Poynor

A community of bloggers

Opinion

Some of today’s most intelligent, entertaining and well written design commentary is being published on blogs. Critique by Rick Poynor

Luxurious frugality

Issue 48, Summer 2003

Opinion

An in-flight magazine for bored bourgeois bohemians. Critique by Rick Poynor

Playground surrealism

Issue 47, Spring 2003

Opinion

What does BBC3’s animated ad say about the new channel? Critique by Rick Poynor

Instant content

Issue 46, Winter 2002

Opinion

Design is Kinky is a graphic design website that's high on content, low on critical awareness. It's a hit! Critique by Rick Poynor

Porn?

Issue 45, Autumn 2002

Opinion

Can sexual image-making escape the stigma of porn? Critique by Rick Poynor

A new ‘flag’?

Issue 44, Summer 2002

Opinion

Hold the front page! Rem Koolhaas devises a ‘bar code’ for Europe. Critique by Rick Poynor

Unclassifiable book

Issue 43, Spring 2002

Opinion

The New Sins consigns graphic designers to the upper levels of hell. Critique by Rick Poynor

Postcards from the edge

Issue 42, Winter 2001

Opinion

The ‘unpatriotic’ Sphere caught US designers at the worst moment. Critique by Rick Poynor

Vanishing point

Issue 41, Autumn 2001

Opinion

A slender idea is inflated to attention-grabbing proportions. Critique by Rick Poynor

A symbol returns to its true colours

Issue 40, Summer 2001

Opinion

After 40 years of use and abuse, Alberto Korda’s picture of Che retains its symbolic power and presence. Critique by Rick Poynor

You can judge a cover by its book

Issue 39, Spring 2001

Opinion

Has Penguin lost its touch? Though its original identity came from pairing strong images with a shrewd choice of fiction, the latest round of designs smells like empty marketing. Critique by Rick Poynor

Blank Generation

Issue 38, Winter 2000

Opinion

The glossy enigma of digital supergirls. Critique by Rick Poynor

The future is ours to see

Issue 37, Autumn 2000

Opinion

BBH’s Barnardo’s campaign communicates with a force rarely seen in charity advertising. Critique by Rick Poynor

Empire of spin

Issue 36, Summer 2000

Opinion

An ‘official’ website tries to get to grips with contemporary culture. Critique by Rick Poynor

Invasion of the issue-snatchers

Issue 35, Spring 2000

Opinion

A disturbing 'campaign' by a clothing manufacturer blurs the line between editorial and advertising. Critique by Rick Poynor

Anti-advertising shows its teeth

Issue 34, Winter 1999

Opinion

The media became squeamish when confronted with a gory anti-burger ad. Who are they trying to protect? Critique by Rick Poynor

Erotic portfolio or ‘artcore’ porn?

Issue 33, Autumn 1999

Opinion

While pornography invades the mainstream, a glossy magazine treats sexual imagery with unashamed delight. Critique by Rick Poynor

Editorial Eye 20

Issue 20, Spring 1996

Opinion

Since the beginning of graphic design there have been graphic authors. Jan Tschichold, whose 192…

Editorial Eye 19

Issue 19, Winter 1995

Opinion

Editorial

Editorial Eye 15

Issue 15, Winter 1994

Opinion

In the three and a half years since Fuse, the interactive type magazine, was started…

Theatre of dreams

Issue 14, Autumn 1994

Feature

Andrzej Klimowski is obsessed with eyes, faces, hands, angels and devils. He is one of Britain’s most haunting image-makers

Editorial Eye 14

Issue 14, Autumn 1994

Opinion

Graphic design is so deeply inscribed within the fabric of everyday life that it is…

Tokyo Salamander

Issue 10, Autumn 1993

Feature

Vaughan Oliver’s collaboration with Shinro Ohtake is an oblique diary of dreams

A grid for all occasions

Issue 2, Winter 1990

Review

Lella and Massimo Vignelli design by the grid, but they also live and work by…

Whatever became of the content?

Issue 9, Summer 1993

Opinion

Much new design is over-complex and confusing. An alternative current, sharing many of the same assumptions, aims for clarity

Monitor

Issue 10, Autumn 1993

Opinion

The client says he wants it in green

Editorial Eye 16

Issue 16, Spring 1995

Opinion

Is the education that graphic designers receive adequate to meet the changing role of the…

Editorial Eye 10

Issue 10, Autumn 1993

Opinion

Editorial

Editorial Eye 11

Issue 11, Winter 1993

Opinion

Editorial

Tibor Kalman and P. Scott Makela

Issue 32, Summer 1999

Opinion

Tibor KalmanP. Scott Makela

Publishing by numbers

Issue 31, Spring 1999

Opinion

The boom in lavish graphic design books bulging with the latest cool images cannot conceal the…

Not waving but dancing

Issue 24, Spring 1997

Opinion

British graphic design, like art, pop and fashion, is on a high. But does it know where it is going – or why?

Monitor

Issue 15, Winter 1994

Opinion

Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder

Recent blog posts about Rick Poynor

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Rick Poynor meets David King, a genuine designer-author driven by an overriding need to lock horns with meaningful subject matter
Stepping across the threshold of David King’s North London house is like plunging into a…

Mission America

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New York was Lella and Massimo Vignelli’s kind of town. They were New York’s kind of designers. A profile from the 1980s by Rick Poynor
Entering the New York offices of Massimo and Lella Vignelli is like crossing the threshold…

Graphic and grotesque

29 June 2012
Book design, Illustration, Information design, Visual culture

Hidden Treasure shows the human body in all its pathos and horror.
Hidden Treasure is a deceptively innocuous title for a book devoted to pictures of skin…

In graphic detail – Critique on Kiki

15 April 2011
Book design, Graphic design, Illustration, Reviews, Visual culture

See Rick Poynor’s latest Critique – about Catel and Bocquet’s graphic biography of Surrealist icon Kiki de Montparnasse
I had some reservations about Kiki de Montparnasse, a new graphic biography of the artists’…

Revelations in style

24 September 2008
Graphic design, Typography, Visual culture

New Critique by Rick Poynor – now published in Eye 69
In the early days of Eye, we ran an article about the New Horizons series…