Brownjohn rediscovered

The work of the late great designer and art director Robert Brownjohn has been gathered together in a new online archive by his daughter, Eliza

Though his work and career was documented in Emily King’s 2005 book Sex and Typography and at an accompanying exhibition at the Design Museum, much of Robert Brownjohn’s output has hitherto been unavailable online, or only available at very poor quality. Now, thanks to painstaking work by Eliza Brownjohn, an extensive archive of his work can be accessed at robertbrownjohn.com.

It’s particularly pleasing to see the film work that BJ (as he was universally known) created in the 60s as part of production company Cammell Hudson & Brownjohn. The titles that he created with director Hugh Hudson for The Tortoise And The Hare, a 1967 promotional film for Pirelli, for example, can now be seen in full whereas previously only limited stills were generally available.

Likewise a series of Midland Bank commercials written by David Cammell and animated by Trevor Bond.

From Robert Brownjohn's experimental typography publication Watching Words Move
From Robert Brownjohn’s experimental typography publication Watching Words Move

The films were derived from Brownjohn’s earlier typographic experiments, including Watching Words Move (above).

In addition to these projects – and, of course, his brilliant Goldfinger titles – the site has a wealth of evocative imagery of Brownjohn as well as this documentary clip:

Eliza Brownjohn has also had three of Brownjohn’s best-known print pieces recreated for sale on the site in limited editions – his Peace Poster, Obsession and Fantasy poster and the cover artwork for the Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed album (fun fact: the cake was made by Delia Smith)

Robert Brownjohn Peace poster
Robert Brownjohn Peace poster
Robert Brownjohn Obsession and Fantasy poster
Robert Brownjohn Obsession and Fantasy poster
Robert Brownjohn artwork for the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed album
Robert Brownjohn artwork for the Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed album

The Robert Brownjohn website is packed with wonderful anecdotes and background on one of the most colourful, talented and influential designers who has been, at times, overlooked. The launch of this extremely valuable resource will go some way to ensuring that Brownjohn receives due recognition for his brilliance.

Lead image: Brownjohn and Margaret Nolan on the set of the Goldfinger title sequence 1964

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