Rick Poynor is a British writer on design, graphic design, typography, and visual culture. He began as a general visual arts journalist, working on Blueprintmagazine in London. After founding Eye magazine,  which he edited from 1990 to 1997, he focused increasingly on visual communication. He is writer-at-large and columnist of Eye, and a contributing editor and columnist of Print (magazine).
In 1999, Poynor was a co-ordinator of the First Things First 2000 manifesto initiated by Adbusters.  In 2003, he co-founded Design Observer,  a weblog for design writing and discussion, with William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand, and Michael Bierut. He wrote for the site until 2005. He was a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art, London from 1994 to 1999 and returned to the RCA in 2006 as a research fellow. He also taught at the Jan van Eyck Academy inMaastricht. In 2004, Poynor curated the exhibition, Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties, at the Barbican Art Gallery in London. The exhibition subsequently travelled to four venues in China and to Zurich.
Poynor's writing encompasses both cultural criticism and design history, and his books break down into three categories. He wrote several monographs about significant British figures in the arts and design: Brian Eno (musician), Nigel Coates (architect), Vaughan Oliver (graphic designer), and Herbert Spencer (graphic designer). Other books document and analyse general movements in graphic design and typography. Among these are Typography Now, the first international survey of the digital typography of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and No More Rules, a critical study of graphic design and postmodernism. Poynor also published three essay collections, Design Without Boundaries, Obey the Giant, and Designing Pornotopia, which explore the cultural implications of visual communication, including advertising, photography, branding, graphic design, and retail design.
Poynor was a prominent interviewee in the 2007 documentary film Helvetica.