Paul Barnes is a British graphic designer, specializing in the fields of typography & type design, with a particular interest in the history of typography and graphic design. He also writes, lectures and teaches about typography and type design around the world. With Christian Schwartz he is a partner in Commercial Type.
Graduating from the Typography course at the University of Reading in 1992, he worked in the early 1990s at the studio of Roger Black, where he was involved in the redesigns of Esquire, Newsweek and Foreign Affairs, as well as art directing Esquire Gentleman and U&lc. Later he became the art director of Spin magazine.
Since 1995 he has worked independently and in colloboration on a wide range of design projects. With Peter Saville, he has designed logos for clients such as Kate Moss and Givenchy, and created the “Original Modern” concept for the City of Manchester. In 2010 they created the “Modern England” flags for the England football team with sportswear manufacturer Umbro.
He has been a design and typographic consultant to many publishers and newspapers, including Schirmer Graf, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian and The Observer Newspapers, GQ, Wallpaper*, Harper’s Bazaar and frieze.
As typographic consultant to the Guardian he was involved in the iconic redesign in 2006, and with Christian Schwartz created the new series of typefaces. For this as part of the Guardian redesign team they received the prestigious Black pencil from the D&AD, as well as being nominated for the Design Museum’s Designer of the Year.
He has designed several retail typefaces, such as the acclaimed Dala Floda and Marian (the subject of a forthcoming book, Marian, Une collection de revivals from Ypsilon.éditeur) and also corporate typefaces for the National Trust in England and typefaces for magazines as diverse as Condé Nast Portfolio (with Christian Schwartz), and O, the Oprah magazine. He has also created the letters used by Puma football teams in the 2010 World Cup and the current letters on the England football team.
In 2009 Schwartz and Barnes set up Commercial Type, an independent type foundry based in New York, retailing both their own designs, designs by their staff, and other designers.
In September 2006, with Schwartz he was named one of the 40 most influential designers under 40 in Wallpaper*. A year later The Guardian named him as one of the 50 best designers in Britain.