Bradbury Thompson (1911-1995) was 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 was recognized for his achievements by many American design organizations:
– 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 designed over 60 issues of Westvaco Inspirations for the Westvaco Paper Corporation, a promotional magazine published by the Westvaco Paper Corporation. His designs reached thousands of designers, printers and typographers.
He had an uncanny ability to merge and blend modernist typographic organization with classic typefaces and historic illustrations, all seasoned with affectionate sentiment and impeccable taste. Working with modest resources, he saw himself as teacher and guide:
“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.” (Westvaco Inspirations 206, 1956).
Bradbury Thompson died in 1995 as one of the most genuinely admired and influential graphic designers of the 20th century.