Bradbury Thompson was an extremely talented graphic designer and well known name from the twentieth century. He had a wide variety of skills and interests in his lifetime including printing production, art direction, book design, conventional typography, and teaching at Yale University.
He was born in 1911 in Topeka, Kansas and attended school at Washburn University. “From 1969-1979 Thompson worked together with Washburn to create the Washburn Bible (Dominic).” This Bible was one of his most famous works and was “deemed a landmark in the publishing of a book on that subject” since Guentberg’s edition (famousgraphicdesigners.org). The book features the typeface Sabon and each chapter begins with recreations of paintings based on stories from the Bible.
Thompson also designed for Westvaco Corporation. Some of his most memorable designed were created for them.
One last signification thing he did throughout his career was his publication of Alphabet 26. It was labeled as a monoalphabet and contained 26 unique characters. “Thompson’s work garnered him the highest award of every major design organization including AIGA, the Art Directors Club and the Type Directors Club (Dominic).”
For over fifty years Bradbury Thompson influenced graphic design in America
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As with his creation of Alphabet 26 he managed to integrate classic serif typography into the modern world. He also energized the field of graphic arts by “using nontraditional artwork, two-page layours, and multicolored printing inks to give the illusion of motion (Purves).” In the later part of his career he taught design classes at Yale University. Yale published his work Bradbury Thompson: The Art of Graphic Design in 1988. Al vin Eisenman wrote in the beginning of the book, ““It has been Thompson’s search for principles and his generosity in sharing his discoveries that make both his teaching and his work as a designer so remarkable (Purves).” Bradbury Thompson’s amazing use of typography, color, and movement continue to influence the design world of today. Without his unique style design would not be nearly as organic and expressive as it has become in the modern age.
Type can be a tool, toy, and teacher
Designed by Michelle Corkery