Returning to the nest

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The Independent Culture
Graphic designer Richard Bird's brilliant career lasted only 20 years, until his untimely death in 1993, but it was packed with success. A new exhibition at the National, "Catching the Eye: the Graphics of Richard Bird", shows us exactly why. For 11 years he headed the National Theatre's in-house graphics team and designed a staggering 200 posters, after which he branched out into industry, music and film, providing resonant still images for John Schlesinger movies, among others. Bird's aim was to represent the true essence of the play - however opinionated the director he might have been working with - and he did this over and over again with a combination of adventurous typography and subtle painterly skills, as well as his arresting design sense. The show reveals that unlike many an artist, Bird was fascinated with the potential of computers; intriguingly, it also takes us through some of his works from conception to print - a Bird's- eye view.

20 Mar-6 May, Lyttleton Circle Foyer, National Theatre, South Bank SE1 (071-928 2033)