Critics: What can graphic design learn from them?

Event Details
JWT Building 1 Knightsbridge Green
London SW1X 7NW
19 January 2005 7:00pm

Rick Poynor is a writer, critic, lecturer and curator, specialising in design, media, photography and visual culture.

Much of his writing has concentrated on alternative and self-directed forms of design practice, and he has a special interest, as both practitioner and enabler, in the development of design writing and criticism. He was the founding editor of Eye magazine and is now its writer at large. He is a columnist and contributing editor for Print magazine in New York. He was a cofounder of the Design Observer website, where he writes regularly.

Poynor studied history of art at the University of Manchester and received an MPhil in design history from the Royal College of Art. He was a visiting professor at the RCA from 1994 to 1999 and a research fellow from 2006 to 2009. He has been a project tutor at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, and has conducted workshops and been a visiting critic and lecturer at many design schools in the UK, Europe, the United States, Australia and China. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and other public events.

He was assistant editor of Designers’ Journal and deputy editor of Blueprint before becoming editor of Eye. His articles, essays and reviews have appeared in Icon, Frieze, Creative Review, British Journal of Photography, I.D., Metropolis, Adbusters, Harvard Design Magazine and many other international publications. In 1986 he wrote commentaries for the first study of Brian Eno, More Dark Than Shark. His other books about design and the visual arts include the monograph Vaughan Oliver: Visceral Pleasures (2000); Typographica (2001), a study of Herbert Spencer’s influential post-war design and typography magazine; No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism (2003); Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties (2004); and Jan van Toorn: Critical Practice (2008), a monograph about the politically radical Dutch designer. He has published three collections of his essays and cultural criticism: Design Without Boundaries (1998); Obey the Giant: Life in the Image World (2001); and Designing Pornotopia (2006).

In 2004, he curated Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, the first detailed historical survey of this culturally significant area of design practice. The exhibition toured to China and Switzerland. His most recent exhibition, Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design, the first wide-ranging overview of this subject, ran at the Moravian Gallery in Brno in 2010, and at the Kunsthal Rotterdam in 2011.

Poynor for Design Observer
oynor for Eye Magazine