Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Introducing Professor Andrew Byrom - Designer in Residence

We're delighted to be able to introduce you to our very own designer in residence, Professor Andrew Byrom (see his website here). Apart from his 'day job' as Professor of Graphic Design at California State Long Beach, Andrew is arguably one of the world's greatest experimental typographers and a member of the highly exclusive AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale).

Professor Byrom pictured recently at his home in California with two of his three, experimental Mini-Me's

Andrew's journey in design started in the early 1990's when he enrolled on a National Diploma in Graphic Design at what was then Cumbria College of Art & Design, now our very own University of Cumbria. With this residency Andrew has returned to his design 'home'.

Andrew Byrom, Cumbria College of Art & Design student ,1993 (see how little he's changed...)

Born in Liverpool in 1971, at the age of three his family moved to Barrow, a small ship/nuclear submarine building town on the South Western edge of the Lake District.

He left school at sixteen and began a four-year apprenticeship in the local shipyard. After serving his apprenticeship on top-secret nuclear submarines he quite understandably decided to pursue a radically different career path and left his job to enroll at Cumbria College of Art and Design and later at the University of East London (well before East London became a hipster hot spot).

East London (pictured yesterday)

One of Andrew's first experimental fonts, designed while resident in East London

The following year he opened his own design studio in London and worked for various clients including Penguin Books, Routledge Publishing, The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, The Goethe-Institut, and The Guardian Newspaper. Around this time he also began teaching typography at The University of Luton and Central Saint Martins.

Routledge book jacket

Another Routledge book jacket

Andrew moved to Chicago in 2000 to teach at Northern Illinois University. In 2006 he moved to Los Angeles, becomming a Professor at California State University Long Beach. 

California (pictured yesterday)

He now divides his time between teaching, designing for various clients, and playing with his three sons. He has recently been commissioned to design typefaces and type treatments for The New York Times Magazine, Du Magazine, and Sagmeister Inc.

His designs have featured in Print, Dwell, Creative Review, +81, IdN, Design Week, Architectural Record, and in numerous design books including: New Typographic Design, Typo: The Beautiful World of Fonts, Type Addicted, and Lettering & Type.

Andrew Byrom’s work has been exhibited in venues in Europe, Asia, and across the US. He has presented at numerous design conferences has been recognised with awards from the AIGA and The Type Directors Club.

When it comes to experimental typography, Andrew knows no boundaries. He is self-professed “obsessed” with type design, a journey begun many years ago when he made his very first type forms out of bendy straws. Since then his work has become so much more ambitious. He kindly gave an introductory lecture to our students back in February. You can get an idea of the content by watching his excellent TEDx talk (below):

Let's have a quick look at some of his amazing work...

The world's first type/handrail combo

An exhibition devoted to the mid-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. Notice that the E is also a shelving unit...

Inspiration lies everywhere. Here, a broken Venetian blind inspired this experimental typeface which ultimately became the digital font 'Venitian' (below)

Can you sit on a typeface? Hell yes!

Can a typeface fly?

Heavy Metal gets it's first truly heavy, metal font (see what he did here...)

Andrew will be holding an exhibition of the work he's created during this residency at the end of term in the University of Cumbria Institute of The Arts', Vallum Gallery. We'll be sure to keep you posted.

We do know that he's been getting very excited about rusty corrugated steel (as used in barns and often found in the hedgerows of rural Britain). So it looks like we'll soon  be seeing even more heavy metal typography.

Rusty corrugated steel (pictured yesterday).

We'll leave you with some words of wisdom from the great man himself:

1) Be a happy designer. Find the joy in it.

2) Start over whenever you have a better idea – no matter how late in the process it comes to you…

3) The design process needn’t be ‘fun’. The design process is hell.

4) My own work comes out over many weeks of painful experimentation and thought. I get satisfaction when things work and are finished, not usually during the process. It’s perhaps the same as running a marathon; a great feeling to cross the finish line, but only after a period of torture. 
Accept this process and learn to love it.

5) I have found designers who have had time at school to explore, fail, and experiment are usually in a better position. Their eyes and minds have been opened. 


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