Barney Bubbles: Optics and Semantics

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Masters Project

“Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick” 7-inch single sleeve for Ian Dury and the Blockheads, 1978

Barney Bubbles is a British Graphic Designer and born in Colin Fulcher 1942. On his designs he uses  bars, rules, dots, zigzags, splatters, squiggles, planes of intersecting color, ragged lines playing against sharp edges.  Bubbles surely had a graphic sense.  His paintings are very big.  ‘Bubbles is a master manipulator of fleeting, everyday optics and semantics, to be absorbed browsing the sleeves in a record shop, or lazing about at a friend’s house listening to the music. The speed, ephemeral lightness and disposability of the mass-produced image made it the perfect medium for his humor, his love of visual games, puzzles, diagrams and codes, and his delight in marginal devices such as inexplicable symbols, which add a layer of intrigue to sleeves, pages and ads that could have been ordinary in someone else’s hands’ (Poynor, 2008).

“Get Happy!!” poster for Elvis Costello and the Attractions, 1980

Poynor, R., 2008. Barney Bubbles: Optics and Semantics, The Design Observer Group, [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 June 2012]

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