Type Talks: Rick Poyner
22 Nov 2018
Birmingham City University, Birmingham
David King (1943-2016) is one of the most original and intellectually ambitious graphic designers to emerge in Britain since the 1960s. His way of thinking and wide-ranging body of work established new possibilities for visual communication undertaken as a form of authorship. As a designer for The Sunday Times Magazine, King became a visual journalist responsible for producing picture-led stories. He started acquiring photographs and graphics from revolutionary Russia and his private collection grew to be the largest of its kind. The Tate’s acquisition of this material in 2016 confirmed its significance. In parallel to his mission as collector and author of visual histories of the Soviet Union, King continued to work as a graphic designer. A strong political position underpinned all his activities and he designed many communications for the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Anti-Nazi League and other campaigning organisations. His posters defined the look of left-wing graphics in Britain.
Rick Poynor is a writer, lecturer and curator, and Professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading. He was the founding editor of Eye (1990-97) and his writing has appeared in Eye, Blueprint, Frieze, Icon, Creative Review, Adbusters, and many other publications. In 2003, he was a co-founder of the Design Observer website. His books about design and the visual arts include Typographica (2001), No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism (2003), Jan van Toorn: Critical Practice (2008), and the essay collections Design Without Boundaries (1998) and Obey the Giant: Life in the Image World (2001). In 2004, he was curator of Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties for the Barbican Art Gallery, London. In 2017, he curated National Theatre Posters for the Wolfson Gallery at the NT. He is working on a book about the British designer, visual activist and author David King.