Disorder
Chris Ashworth

The first book dedicated to the career of a truly hands-on graphic designer, charting his ‘Swiss Grit’ approach from the influential Ray Gun magazine in the 1990s, through to his experimental type projects of the present day

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Overview

Chris Ashworth balances a career as a sought-after creative director with a second life as an experimental designer and typographer, a path he first took in the early 1990s designing flyers for clubs in the north of England. His inimitable hands-on approach to graphic design, exemplified in his work on two classics of 90s music magazine culture – Blah Blah Blah in the UK (designed with Neil Fletcher) and Ray Gun in the US – has won him legions of fans. His creative approach – termed ‘Swiss Grit’, “is a blend of Swiss principles fused with a typographic street aesthetic that brings some soul,” he says. Recently, his expressive personal work has led him to design for a range of clients including New Order, Monster Children magazine, Nike and Bush.

Ashworth sees his work – craft-based, handmade – as a counterpoint to our screen-dependent digital culture. It’s the manifestation of an alternative view which argues that creative development away from the computer offers unique and precious merits. Disorder: Swiss Grit Volume II, the first publication to survey his work, celebrates this approach to graphic design over nearly 500 pages. Beginning with his influential work for Ray Gun and covering a wide range of printed and published work from 1997 to the present day, the book is concerned with the human craft of creativity and analogue design, the details, imperfections and happy accidents. An AI-free-zone.

“Anyone who knows me, or follows my Instagram feed @ashworthchris, will be well aware of my ‘hoarding superpowers’,” Ashworth says. “My vast archive has enabled me to cherry pick the ‘best-of’ from over 40 boxes. In the book, this work is accompanied by numerous pieces of new design and typography that have been made especially for the publication.” Disorder: Swiss Grit Volume II is the second book of a proposed two-volume set that Ashworth hopes to publish and covers work made from 1997 to 2024. Its prequel, Swiss Grit Volume I is slated to follow and focus on projects created from 1990 through to 1997.

Specification

225 × 275mm
488 pages
Hardcover

Paper: Four-colour, 120gsm woodfree (text); Two-colour, 160gsm uncoated woodfree and machine varnish (endpapers); 128gsm jacket art (cover).

Sewn, separate ends, PLC over 3.5mm boards, flat back with head and tail bands.

Author, editor, designer: Chris Ashworth.

New artwork rewards (all include signed book)
Artwork rewards (all include signed book)
How it works

If our funding goal is met before GMT this project will commence development. All pledges will be immediately refunded in full if the funding goal is not met.

Estimated delivery

Winter 2024

Shipping

Tracked worldwide

He revels in the disorder that is achieved when he shuts down his computer and starts using his hands.

Adrian Shaughnessy

Disorder includes essays by Ashworth detailing his influences, working methods and reflections on the design industry. The main section features 250 pages of published and unpublished work from Ray Gun (issues 44-58), including marked-up chromalins, diary entries and discarded early layouts. Other chapters include a focus on the work of his own studio, Still; a section charting his move from solo designer to becoming creative director at Getty Images; and a selection of his ‘found type in the wild’ photography and Sound in Print artworks. The book includes a foreword by Marvin Scott Jarrett and an afterword by Adrian Shaughnessy.

Publisher

Unit Editions

Profile

Unit Editions is an independent publishing venture, producing books for an international audience of designers, design students and followers of visual culture. The company is hugely experienced in the production and delivery of books and publications, using only high quality suppliers (printers, binders, etc.) and distributes titles globally on a daily basis.

Ashworth is a missionary from the new church of Swiss spiritualism.

Lewis Blackwell

All backers of the Early Bird book reward will be entered into a lucky dip with the chance of winning one of ten unique Sound in Print artworks along with their copy of Disorder.

Ruler, pencil, paper, scalpel, Tippex, tape, tape, tape, Letraset, glue.

Chris Ashworth, Maekan interview
Meet the author

Emerging from the North of England, and nominated in 1993 by Why Not Associates as the most up and coming British graphic designer in Creative Review magazine’s annual ‘Creative Future’s’ awards, Chris Ashworth achieved design notoriety in the late 1990s at Ray Gun magazine, the influentialLA-based ‘bible of music and style’. His early schooling in the rigours and principles of Swiss graphic design fused with the gritty vernacular of the street came together to create the sounds of the 90s in visual print form.

He has since worked with pop culture bands and brands from New Order, Michael Stipe (REM), Robbie Robertson and Bush to Nike, Diesel and Adobe as well as spending over 20 years as a Creative Director running in-house creative studios at Microsoft, Nokia and Getty Images.

He recently launched thisisme.art with his partner Nicola which sells high end apparel and one-of-a-kind original art featuring his unique handmade creative approach.

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