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.”


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