Bradbury Thompson

January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bradbury Thompson is one of the most important graphic designers of the twentieth century. He is recognized by the American design organization for his works: National Society of Art Directors of the Year Award (1950), AIGA Gold Medal Award (1975), Art Directors Hall of Fame (1977) In 1983, he received the Frederic W. Goudy Award from RIT.

He graduated from Washburn College in 1934 and then he worked for Capper Publications. This job gave him the chance to learn all the aspects of printing production. In 1938 he moved to New York and designed numerous porters, projects… for over sixty years. He was the art director at the Rogers-Kellogg-Stillson that was a printing firm and later on he worked at Mademoiselle magazine. He also consulted and designed for Westvaco Corporation, designed a new alphabet. Besides this busy schedule he, he also was a graphic design professor at Yale University where he worked for many years.

In his career he has many achievements. One of the most important of them all is his work called Wesvaco Inspirations that is a magazine published by Wesvaco Paper Corporation. This work is important because he got the opportunity to reach many typographers, print buyers and students. He had a talent of combining modernist typographic organization, classic typefaces and historic illustrations.

One of his other important works is The Washburn College Bible. This work is the most groundbreaking reconsideration of bible typography since Gutenberg’s own edition appeared in 1455.

His other area of interest was postage stamp design. He designed more than 90 stamps and at the same time he consulted with the U.S. Postal for the design of other stamps. His designs became iconic for the American culture.

“The art of typography, like architecture, is concerned with beauty and utility in contemporary terms… the typographic designer must present the arts and sciences of past centuries as well as those of today… And although he works with the graphics of past centuries, he must create in the spirit of his own time, showing in his designs an essential understanding rather than a labored copying of past masters.”


Gene Federico

January 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Gene Federico is a graphic designer and advertising director who had an important role in introducing a style of typography to American advertising. With what he did typography became an important element in American Advertising instead of being a supportive element.

He was one of the founders of Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein Inc., a New York advertising agency in year 1967. Later on he worked as its creative director, vice president and vice chairman. He was recognized for the groundbreaking combination of type and image. He used text as part of the picture to create visual metaphors. This was the trademark of American advertising’s ”Creative Revolution” in the late 50’s and 60’s.

In the late 30’s he was first a student in the secondary graphics group called the Art Squad at Abraham Lincoln High School. Later on he became a member of the 1939 graduating class at Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. In these times the clever use of typographic elements in mass advertisements did not exist.

In America, at most agencies, cookie-cutter layouts were used in an unimaginative way. The art directors did not add creative elements to typographic elements. On the other hand in Europe, commercial artists’ posters of the same period were outstandingly artful and distinctly individual. However in America, designers’ names were rarely mentioned in agencies.

The European leaders, such as A. M. Cassandre and Lucian Bernhard, influenced Frederico and he finally became one of the contemporary advertising designers who developed a noticeably modernist approach to graphic design. Important elements of his designs were clean layout, asymmetrical composition and sans-serif typefaces, and these elements were combined with the union of word and picture. He used headlines to carry visual messages and used type to show sounds on the printed page.

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