Born in Topeka, Kansas in 1911, Bradbury Thompson started his career early at Washburn College. It was there that he designed the school’s mascot and worked on their yearbook. Shortly after graduating Thompson left to work at an advertising agency in New York City. From his experience at the advertising agency, Thompson went on to design professionally.

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Alphabet 26 as a font, instead of a font system, would have 26 characters made up of both uppercase and lowercase letters. The large letter style set in the original version of Alphabet 26 would come in handy for use at the beginning of a sentence or a pronoun. The selection of letters that are either uppercase or lowercase would have to be carefully considered in relation to letter identification problems experienced by early readers and those with reading disabilities. The revisited Alphabet 26 font may need to instill a strong, consistent discriminability between all of the characters. Thus, the new Alphabet 26.

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Bradbury Thompson was truly a master of almost every aspect of the design profession. He studied printing production, was an art director for Mademoiselle magazine, designed books, pushed the boundaries of conventional typography and taught design at Yale University. He designed 60+ issues of Westvaco Inspirations for the Westvaco Paper Corporation. His designs reached thousands of designers, printers and typographers.

Bradbury Thompson was always on the cutting edge of design. Known best for his bold use of type and his ability to cohesively juxtapose artistic styles, design was no more than play for Thompson. He himself said, “A constant interest in work plus an interest in everyday things can give the artist and designer endless numbers of fresh ideas.” His passion for learning and his openness to trying with new ideas led him to his avant-garde approach to design. Although Thompson tried many different things as a designer, he knew what worked and what didn’t. “Inspirations” gave Thompson room to try out new styles, which he takes back to the drawing board and then reinvents for other projects. This can be seen in the Washburn Bible as Thompson had begun to understand the importance of placement of text and the poignancy in the spacing of text. 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.

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