This talk took place on July 8, 2019, in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union as part of Type@Cooper's Herb Lubalin Lecture Series. The recordings of this series are made possible by the generous support of Hoefler & Co.
For over a decade Commercial Type have been designing and releasing contemporary typefaces; from modern classics like Graphik, Druk, Publico, and Guardian through to more experimental faces like Orientation and Styrene. Some of them like Lyon and Portrait have been informed and inspired by the past, but not dominated by it. At the same time, they have been searching through the vast archive that is St Bride Library, looking for hidden gems; designs long forgotten and no longer available. Rather than being modern interpretations where the designer leaves an obvious mark, they are careful reconstructions, made not for yesterday, but for today’s users. They take the old forms, and expand them in new directions, whilst retaining the charm and beauty of the originals.
Paul Barnes is a British graphic designer, specializing in the fields of typography & type design. With Christian Schwartz, he is a partner in Commercial Type, an internationally renowned type foundry with offices in London & New York. Graduating from the Typography course at the University of Reading in 1992, he worked in the early 1990s at the studio of Roger Black and later he became the art director of Spin magazine. Since 1995 he has worked independently and in collaboration on a wide range of design projects. With Peter Saville, he has designed logos for clients such as Kate Moss and Givenchy, and created the “Original Modern” concept for the City of Manchester. In 2010 they created the ‘Modern England’ flags for the England football team with sportswear manufacturer Umbro. He has been a design and typographic consultant to many publishers including The Guardian and The Observer Newspapers, GQ, Wallpaper*, Harper’s Bazaar and frieze . As typographic consultant to The Guardian he was involved in the iconic redesign in 2006, and with Christian Schwartz created the new series of typefaces. For this, as part of The Guardian redesign team, they received the prestigious Black Pencil from the D&AD, as well as being nominated for the Design Museum’s Designer of the
He has designed several retail typefaces, such as the acclaimed Dala Floda and Marian and also corporate typefaces for the National Trust in England and typefaces for magazines as diverse as Condé Nast Portfolio (with Christian Schwartz), O , the Oprah magazine and Vanity Fair. In newspapers he has designed new typefaces for The Daily Telegraph in London and Finland’s leading quality newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. He has also created the letters used by Puma football teams in the 2010 World Cup. In 2009 Schwartz and Barnes set up Commercial Type, an independent type foundry retailing both their own designs, designs by their staff, and other designers. In September 2006, with Schwartz he was named one of the 40 most influential designers under 40 in Wallpaper*. A year later The Guardian named him as one of the 50 best designers in Britain.