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.