Jon Wozencroft, Neville Brody – Fuse 1-20: From Invention to Antimatter – Twenty Years of FUSE

Jon Wozencroft

Taschen, ISBN: 978-3836525015, 416 pages, 2012, English

In 1991 two of the most talented graphic designers of all time (Jon Wozencroft and Neville Brody) launched a unique experiment: FUSE, an annual publication packaged in a cardboard box that contained a printed zine with articles relating to typography culture, a floppy disk with four fonts and four posters that utilizedthe same fonts. In the middle of the IT revolution and just before internet for the masses, this production was a milestone in contemporary graphic design and a novel form of publishing (we would have said ‘multimedia’ at that time). Creative Review described it as “the magazine of the future” referring to the idea that the form was designed specifically for the content, which in turn was a tool for creating new (potentially disparate) content. Each issue had a theme such as “Codes”, “Religion” or “Pornography”, around which the article, the fonts and the posters were created. The alphabet started to be considered (together with the computer keyboard) as a medium for digitally coded sense. This anthology celebrates FUSE and acts as a form of preservation. It also includes unpublished issues #19 and #20. Aside from the two editors, several radical innovators were involved, such as Peter Saville, David Carson, the Tomato collective and many other designers keen on opening new conceptual windows between the machine and the printed page. The nineties aesthetic is easily recognizable (think techno flyers, for example), but in fifty years’ time this project is more than likely going to be labelled as avant-garde.