Reputations: Tony Brook
‘What other profession do you end up in where you learn so much about other people’s businesses than in graphic design? It’s remarkable. Clients will tell you everything. It’s like being a therapist. That’s really exciting. You never know what’s going to happen from one week to the next.’
Tony Brook grew up in Halifax in the north of England where most of his male relatives were miners (on his father’s side) and steelworkers and firemen (on his mother’s). He showed early promise in art, and left home in 1980 to study illustration at Somerset College of Arts and Technology in Taunton, switching to graphic design in his third year.
After a year of unemployment he joined the design agency Shoot That Tiger! in 1984, followed by stints at Icon (later Sonicon) in 1989 and Crimson in 1991, before setting up Spin with his wife Patricia Finegan in 1992.
Since that time Spin has expanded and contracted in size, influence and prosperity throughout a turbulent time for graphic design. Initially dependent upon the declining music industry, Spin moved on to big-client branding in the mid-00s, acquiring a reputation for an austere, neo-Modernist approach to identity design for a variety of blue-chip clients. These have included auctioneers Christie’s, galleries (Whitechapel, Haunch of Venison, The Photographers’ Gallery, Proa in Argentina) and TV stations such as Channel 4, Five and More4.
Spreads showing items in cardboard archive boxes from the catalogue for Wim Crouwel exhibition, Design Museum, London, 2011
Top: portrait by Phil Sayer.
John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London
Read the full version in Eye no. 86 vol. 22 2013
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