Rick Poynor is a British writer, critic, lecturer, and curator, specializing in design, media, photography, and visual culture. He is Visiting Professor in Critical Writing in Art & Design at the postgraduate Royal College of Art in London.
He was the founding editor of Eye magazine in London, which he edited from 1990 to 1997, and he has contributed the “Critique” column to Eye since 1999. He has written a regular column for Print magazine since 2000. His articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in I.D., Metropolis, Harvard Design Magazine, Adbusters, Blueprint, Icon, Frieze, Creative Review, The Guardian, Financial Times, and many other publications. In 2003, he was a co-founder of Design Observer, where he blogs regularly.
Poynor’s first book, with the artist Russell Mills, was More Dark Than Shark (1986), a study of Brian Eno. Typography Now: The Next Wave (1991), the first survey to document the new digital typography, became an international bestseller. His books about design and the visual arts include Vaughan Oliver: Visceral Pleasures (2000); Typographica (2001); No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism (2003); Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design Since the Sixties (2004); and Jan van Toorn: Critical Practice (2008). 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 was curator of a major survey exhibition, “Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties,” at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. The show traveled to China and Switzerland. In 2009, he curated “Typographica” at the Kemistry Gallery, London. His most recent exhibition, “Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design,” the first international and historical survey of this subject, ran at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic, in the summer of 2010 and at the Kunsthal, Rotterdam, in fall 2011.
Poynor was previously a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art (1994–99) and a research fellow at the college (2006–09). He has also taught at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht in the Netherlands. He is a frequent lecturer and has spoken about design and visual culture at public events, conferences, and design schools throughout Europe, the United States, Australia, and China. In 2007, he was a featured interviewee in the hit documentary Helvetica.