03 Mar

That New York

Chermayeff & Geismar Collection Box 12 Folder 24. The Composing Room, That New York, 1960. On Flickr.

The Composing Room issued a series of four booklet inserts for the German magazine Der Druckspiegel to showcase the kind of experimental typography the typesetter championed. Brownjohn, Chermayeff and Geismar’s That New York, the second in the series (the other three came from Herb Lubalin, Lester Beall, and Gene Federico), in turn places front and center the expressive typography that was a hallmark of the firm. The type vibrates and rotates ; the letterforms morph into representational shapes and contain visual puns. With all this going on, it’s hard to pay attention to Percy Seitlin’s reflections on New York (which are reprinted in tiny but legible type in the back), but still the designers manage to capture his mood.

The simple thing about New York is
that, for all its vanity,
it melts, erodes, decomposes
before your very eyes
like sherbet or leaf mulch.

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