Architectural Forum noted that he “may have been the most
talented student ever to have graduated from Chicago's Institute of
Design.” He personified the idea his teacher Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
expressed in Vision in Motion, that art and life can be
integrated: “The true artist is the grindstone of the sense; he
sharpens his eye, mind and feeling; he interprets ideas and
concepts through his own media.”
In 1957 Brownjohn opened Chermayeff + Geismar (with Ivan
Chermayeff and Tom Geismar) in New York City. The following year he
designed the “Streetscape” display for the American pavilion at
the World Exhibition in Brussels.
In 1960 Brownjohn left Chermayeff + Geismar to become the design
director for McCann-Erickson Ltd. in London. While there, he
designed the title sequences for numerous films, including the
James Bond films Goldfinger and From Russia with Love.
Brownjohn later returned to New York to teach at the Pratt
Institute and the Cooper Union.
In his short but intense working life, Brownjohn left helped to
redefine graphic design, to move it from a formal to a conceptual
art. His projects exemplify every aspect of his relationship to
design, including his emphasis on content over form and his
preferences with ordinary and personal images. His spirit of
invention and designs for living in the machine age were balanced
with references to the aesthetic models that Moholy-Nagy
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