Martin Barker

Martin Barker is London-based graphic designer with specialist skills in illustration and animation.


Personal project, 2019

‘Electrified’ is my homage to the electric shock warning sign. I’m curiously attracted to the absurdly stylised arrow of deadly electricity striking its victim down. Perhaps it’s the dualistic relationship of the two symbols. The electrified figure is either paralysed and falling backwards or about to spring into a well-rehearsed dance routine. Is the bolt of light a paralysing knock-out punch from above or a re-energising gift from the gods? 

There’s also something genuinely evocative about the sight of an electricity bolt. Back in the 70s and 80s, the British government peppered us with a series of public information films (PIFs) about the risks of outdoor play and in particular the dangers of electricity. The ‘Play Safe’ films were extremely harrowing and left an indelible mark on my early years of life. One of the films featured a child being electrocuted in a power station after breaking in to retrieve his frisbee. The image of the frisbee caught in a electrical insulator will forever be lodged in my memory.

I gave my electrified graphic a vintage 1970s look with plenty of noise, dust and scratches. I used the font ‘Kabel’ as this was popular at the time and has nice angular terminals and dynamic slanting ‘e’s, perfect for my electrified theme. I based my title heading on a custom script from the 1920s, the joined-up letters and strong diagonal strokes are redolent of sharp electricity bolts.


Martin Barker
Graphic Design • Illustration • Animation


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