Robert Brownjohn. Preparatory study for Goldfinger title sequence. 1964. Silver-gelatin print. Photograph by Herbert Spencer. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Don Goeman. © 2012 Eliza Brownjohn

This small focus installation features the first film title sequence to enter MoMA’s collection as a design work in its own right, along with related preparatory material. As memorable as the film itself, the title sequence of Goldfinger (1964) captures the sexual suggestiveness and wry humor of the James Bond mythos. Scenes from the film are projected strategically onto starlet Margaret Nolan, while minimal credit texts balance each shot. It was designer and art director Robert Brownjohn (American, 1926–1970) who conceived, designed, and directed this sequence, one of the best examples of title design used to produce a salient film component, rather than a necessary afterthought. Brownjohn’s short but influential career integrated the fields of design, advertising, film, photography and music. He moved in 1960 to London, where he was at the epicenter of the burgeoning “swinging ’60s” scene. Brownjohn deployed type in dynamic, abstract forms, in this case illustrating both his mastery of modern graphic design and his ability to apply sophisticated graphic treatment to popular media.

Organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Aidan O’Connor, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

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