A stylish tome celebrating the work of the graphic designer behind jazz mag Straight No Chaser and record labels Talkin’ Loud and Mo’ Wax

With the advent of desktop publishing 20-odd years ago, a deluge of new magazines surfaced. Anyone with an Apple Macintosh could knock out a title. And many did.

But few of those early DTP mags made the grade. One that did, however, was jazz title Straight No Chaser, edited by Paul Bradshaw and Kathryn Willgress.

Its language was hip and conversational, focusing on an eclectic mix of artists spanning Art Blakey to Björk. Equally important was its eye-catching graphics laid down by Ian Swift, who had been the right-hand man to design doyen Neville Brody of The Face and Arena fame.

‘Swifty creates bold layouts as vivid and fresh as the music he illustrates’

‘Swifty’, as he is known, is first and foremost a typographer who creates bold layouts as vivid and fresh as the music he illustrates. Back in the ’90s he worked for such labels as James Lavelle’s Mo’ Wax and Talkin’ Loud, run by DJ Gilles Peterson. On top of that, Swifty created logos, fonts and attention-grabbing club flyers.

Much of his genre-defining work is on display within the 376 pages of Funky Typo-Grafix. Bradshaw’s writing sits alongside more than 800 illustrations in this limited-edition book published by Gamma Proforma.

In a world where, through social media, everyone can be a publisher, Funky Typo-Grafix is a reminder that having the tools to create won’t necessarily make you creative. Talent is important, too.

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