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Thompson was born in 1911 in Topeka, Kansas He was interested in art from the time he was a boy, and worked in all manner of art and design. He was led into graphic design because of magazines. Whenever at the drug store down the street he would sit by the magazine stand and look at magazine such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Bazaar. He enjoyed the fashion ones the most because they presented the best of European and American art and show need trends in typography. He started designing in 1934 after graduating from Washburn College with a degree in economics. Thompson said that a degree in economics helped because he could then understand the world of commerce and its needs as well as the imperatives of communication.

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S STANDS FOR STYLE

He has a unique style of graphic design that experiments with the use of four color printing, typography, and photo reproduction. He is known for his use of pure CMYK hues to add brightness, his multiplication and overlapping of photos that create movement and adding typography in a was that it stands out. His work was often juxtaposed which makes his work so dynamic.

 

Thompson found a unique way to merge typography and photography into one brilliant, cohesive work through simple techniques. This fusion of the two oldest forms of communication revolutionized graphic design and made a turning point from the free-form relationships of the 1920s to a new classicism and respect for history. Thompson was truly a unique designer and would never blindly mimic the past in his decision making. He knew how to be appropriate in creating his designs and knew how to create loud or quiet in a graphic statement. Using his knowledge to depict these things is part of why he’s such a successful self-assured design director.

Thompson has been called the “Master of Typography,” an apt title for the designer. Thompson’s use of type was always appropriate for the job at hand. Thompson believed that typography itself could serve as a graphic element on a page and that a typographic designer needs to show the arts and sciences of the past as well as ones today. It needs to be created in the spirit of the designer’s own time but also merging with the past. Thompson’s unique way of arranging type into a playful and appealing designs stuck in the design field. Some of these designs even became trademark designs for corporations, institutions, publications, and societies.

TYPOGRAPHY

The typographer’s task is to create a constellation of type with the exact position, the precise size, and the particular value to strike harmony with the picture image

Bradbury created the font alphabet 26. It was a adopted a font system for early readers. It is misleading for a letter, or for any graphic symbol, to have two different designs. Confusion might set in when school children are taught to recognize words even before they have learned to recognize different symbols for the same letter. His son had difficultly recognizing the similarity between Run and run because they both use two different symbols that represent the same sound.

 

To remedy this, Alphabet 26, a plan based upon the logic of consistency, made this recommendation for the 19 letters that have dissimilar symbols: 15 letters should use the uppercase designs and 4 letters should use the lowercase designs. The other 7 letters already have identical symbols. He tested it with his son and saw significant improvement in his oral fluency when reading the text.

alphabet 26

He gets inspiration for his projects everywhere: people, places, both ordinary and iconic. One of Thompson’s two-page spread idea Horsepower came from tripping over his son’s toy horse. Another moment happened when Thompson was opening the door of his home. And the idea of doors opening into rooms revealed to him some aspect of life or living and became the idea for another Westvaco Inspirations issue called Enter and Exit (featured below). In another instance he was running his eyes along a line of type and that inspired a page in which greyhounds were running around the border of a page. Needless to say, his inspirations came from any and every possible source.

I IS FOR

INSPIRATION

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

His book reveals the imagination and intelligence of an unassuming genius. The text is a balanced accompaniment to his work and unpacks the philosophically and technically innovative processes Thompson used for producing exceptionally creative work in the post-war world of publishing. Thompson is not afraid to credit sentiment, collaborate with the other arts, or find inspiration in any source. Furthermore, his solutions are sensitive to the practical demands of life in the 40's and 50's. Deadlines, the value of humor, the importance of family, and the desire for experimentation are woven throughout the chapters and projects. The book is organized by projects and ranges from his Monalphabet, Alphabet 26, and designing the Washburn Bible to purely aesthetic concerns of creating motion with graphics and type. Students and designers who believe visually exciting, cutting-edge design is exclusive to their own immediate recollections of 20th century trends will be amazed to discover ideas, visual experimentation and originality over fifty years old.

The Art of Graphic Design

Thompson was an avid collector of postage stamps and a great interest in contemporary stamp designs. He is credited for providing designs for about 90 postage stamps. In fact, he also consulted with the U.S. Postal Service and assisted them in designing several other stamps. What sets Thompsons’ designed postage stamps apart from others is that they scrupulously capture the American history and culture. Some of his famous stamps’ designs include the 1984 ‘Love’ stamp and the 1980 colorful painting of Josef Albers, ‘Learning never ends’.

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A constant interest in work plus an interest in everyday things can give the artist and

designer endless numbers of fresh ideas.