Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows takes a look at Rian Hughes’ Logo•A•Gogo published by Korero…
Writer: Rian Hughes
Introduction: Grant Morrison
The art of graphic design is something that has been mostly invisible in the world of comics for much of its existence. Arguably this changed to a certain extent in the 1980s with the rise in prominence of Rian Hughes. A talented artist who collaborated with Grant Morrison on Dan Dare in Fleetway’s Revolver and strip The Science Service co-written by John Freeman, it is his graphic design where he really excels.
Logo•A-Gogo is perhaps the ultimate niche book on the world of comics as very few comic fans really notice the contribution of the graphic designer on the comics that they read but it is a hefty celebration of Hughes’ impressive body of work. We get a foreword by none other than Grant Morrison and then a sizeable introduction by Hughes himself who talks about his career and his work history to try and put things into some sort of context. Then we get an extensive selection of his work over the years accompanied by Hughes discussing his approach to each job. As you thumb through it, you realise just how many comic series Hughes has had his fingerprints on over the years. Many comic fans may not appreciate the importance of good graphic design and logo design but this reviewer does. And it is fascinating to get a glimpse into just how he creates his work. Looking through, you also realise just how pivotal he has been to UK comic history as he designed the Forbidden Planet retail logo. Also, glancing through here, you see all of the music logos he has designed over the years too. During his career, his CV has included all manner of pop culture and this shows his versatility as a designer.
Logo•A-Gogo is a very impressive anthology of Hughes’ work but there are a few minor quibbles with it. Oddly the work doesn’t run chronologically which is a little bit annoying and the type size here is pretty small. Presumably this is so the publisher could pack as much in as possible but it does make it a little hard to read sometimes.
Comics is a visual medium and Rian Hughes is the ultimate comics logo designer. Other designers like the equally talented Tom Muller have followed since Hughes but it is hard to argue that Hughes was the first. For fans of graphic design and graphic design in comics, Logo•A-Gogo is a book that they will pore over again and again.