Interview with Phil Baines, Eye 69, Autumn 2008
'Phil Baines initially studied at Ushaw College, Durham for the Roman Catholic priesthood. In 1981 he enrolled on a Foundation course at Cumbria College of Art & Design. From here he moved to London, studying graphic design first at St Martin's School of Art from 1982-85. His work of this period was heavily biased toward experimental typography which took inspiration from medieval manuscripts and the writings of Marshall McLuhan and George Steiner - he has often noted that his influences came from written rather than visual sources.'

'You've written that you "take an intellectual pleasure in the numbers game, whether grids, columns, folds, letters or pages". Do you find design more difficult when there's no structure to get to grips with?'
PB: 'Yes - I can't just put things on a page. I find it very difficult to do that. Within the context of a book there are the other pages and elements that need to interrelate, so structure becomes important in unifying the thing. When I do posters there's less reliance on it, and it's more an organic arrangement of the words.'
'There's the question of what your "intellectual pleasure" amounts to. Are you concerned whether the recipient can see –'
'It's purely you amusing yourself?'
'And you think that's graphic design?'





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