• Steven Heller

Look At Brexit From Both Sides Now

GraphicDesign&, the independent publisher co-founded by UK design writers/editors/designers Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright, has just published The Other Side: An Emotional Map of Brexit. The compact paperback is double-ended, making it two books in one. The reader can read one side—Leave—and ignore the other—Remain—or take in both. There is no wrong way.

The book, reports the publisher, acts as a timely primer that goes beyond the divisive rhetoric specific to Brexit to highlight the failures of communication “that have led us to where we are today—failures to communicate political complexity, to speak for communities, and now to reach out to each other.”

“Without agenda, The Other Side has been conceived to encourage empathy—not to change minds.

[Twenty-six] ‘Leave’ and 24 ‘Remain’ voters from around the UK, across professions and of different ages and backgrounds, share their views on the losses and gains from the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Their voices, thoughts and ideas act as a snapshot of a particular and poignant moment in history and illustrate that voter motivation is varied, not binary.

“Contributors were deliberately chosen to capture a wide demographic—a fisherman from Grimsby, a black cab driver from London, a groundsman at Wimbledon, a sheep farmer from Wales, an academic from Belfast.”

The book is designed to give each voice equal weight through a careful selection of post-war fonts. Each contributor is identified by region, and each region is assigned a sans serif typeface. Ranging form Swiss designer Adrian Frutiger’s Univers (1954–57) to New Zealand–based Kris Sowersby’s Untitled Sans (2013–2017), these typefaces epitomize what is known as the “International Style” emphasizing clarity, organization and neutrality.

A visual essay charts the UK’s changing attitudes to the “European Project” from the 1950s until now via press cuttings, cartoons and posters; stamps and coins; red buses, satirical billboards and election sloganeering. An interview with communications expert Ian Leslie also explores the universal parallels between the breakdown of personal relationships and the referendum result.

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