Design heroes, Notebook

Design heroes: Robert Brownjohn

Notebook: 5 June 2015


My dad used to bank with Midland Bank and when I was about 11 or 12 he must have been sent a piece of marketing from Midland Bank called ‘How a cheque book works’. It was designed to encourage new customers to open a bank account and use a cheque book rather than save their money under a mattress and pay in cash. Anyway, when I spotted it, I was taken in by the clever design and simple bold, modern graphics. My dad let me hang on to it and I’ve still got it today in my collection of graphics. Looking back, I can see how it inspired and influenced me. I think it may have been designed by a guy called Robert Brownjohn who seems to have been one of 1960s London’s equivalents to Mad Men’s Don Draper judging by his lifestyle. Brownjohn is famous for designing the title sequences for the Bond films From Russia with Love and Goldfinger but he also designed very simple but clever typographic cinema adverts for the Midland Bank in the late 1960s and I think the ‘How a cheque book works’ was designed by him (or his colleagues). You can see pictures of ‘How a cheque book works’ and read a bit more about it on an interesting website called Pastprint. And for more on Robert Brownjohn, who sadly died of a heroin overdose, here’s an interesting article from The Telegraph and a link to one of his Midland Bank ads.

BTJ6XE Advertising for Midland Bank on how a cheque book works in Punch magazine circa 1970. Image shot 1970. Exact date unknown.

Advertising for Midland Bank on how a cheque book works in Punch magazine circa 1970