Ian "Swifty" Swift

When we asked Swifty, aka Ian Swift, what unique element he brought to our collection of artists and designers, his answer was both definitive and definitively enthusiastic: “True Brit flavour – schooled in the youth culture of ’70s/’80s/’90s UK, from punk to acid jazz and back again, the Swifty stylee is a heady mix of all these influences! Single-handedly created the look for new jazz revival in the ’90s incredibly influential across the globe – but, hey, I’m not gonna brag about it!” Well, Swifty, you don’t really have to. His self-proclaimed “Swifty empire” began with stints at The Face and Arena magazines, led to work with design star Neville Brody, and crowned him with the design and art direction of scenester juggernaut publication Straight No Chaser during the ’80s. With an entrepreneurial leap into business ownership in 1990 with the London-based Swifty Typografix design studio, he began to amass his now-significant body of design work for clients including B&W Music, Far Out Recordings, Blue Note Records, and BBC2. Referred to as “the most influential British graphic designer,” and “the design guru of the London jazz/hip hop scene,” Swifty was the mastermind behind the brand identities of the Talkin’ Loud, Mo’ Wax, and Source 360 record labels, propelling him to industry immortality. In 1997 he established Swifty Typomatic, the first independent font foundry in the UK, to work in conjunction with Typografix. Beyond commissioned work, he keeps himself so busy with collaborations and side projects, you’d think stylee was going out of style. Not a chance with Swifty at the decks. Though he declares music as his primary inspiration, Swifty deferred to his other current enthusiastic obsessions for his slipmat contribution: camo and pop art. “It’s a snippet of my ongoing research into camo and why I like camo mixed up with my luv of paint by numbers!” In the Swifty Empire, the exclamation point, not the explanation, is the point.