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history of Modern Graphic Design

bradbury Thompson

Bradbury Thompson was born in 1911 in Topeka, Kansas. He was fascinated with magazines and applied that interest in college by getting involved with yearbook. Thompson’s career focused on publication design, but also worked with typography and stamp design.






Thompson’s interest in graphic design developed from magazines. He would analyze the design of Vanity Fair, Vogue and Harper Bazaar. Thompson attended Washburn College where he studied for a degree in economics. In college, he was involved with the yearbook as student editor and designer. He also designed the school’s mascot the Ichabod. Upon graduation in 1934, Thompson learned a lot about the printing business, from typesetting to binding. After graduation, Thompson worked briefly as a designer for Capper Publications where he furthered his knowledge on the printing process. In 1938, he moved to New York and worked as Art Director for RogersKellog-Stillson. From 1939-1961 Thompson worked for Westvaco Paper Corporation designing more than 60 issues of Inspirations, a publication focues on demonstrating the printing process and paper stock samples that was sent to designers, typographers and students. Other work consisted of Art Director for Mademoiselle magazine for 15 years and Design Director for ARTnews for 27 years.


In 1949, he designed Alphabet 26, a typeface that had one letterform for each letter and a consistent cap height and lower case alignment that would give easier legibility. And also in 1949, Thompson began working with Washburn College to create the Washburn Bible, the most significant development in Bible typography since Gutenberg’s masterpiece in 1455, focusing on readability. It took ten years to finish. Thompson is also accomplished in stamp design, as he worked for the U.S. Postal Service designing stamps. He was the design coordinator of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee from 19691978. Bradbury Thompson is a recognized American designer, winning many awards.

1 ARTnews cover 2 Ichabod mascot design 3 Westvaco spread 4 LOVE stamp design 5 Westvaco cover 6 image of Washburn Bible 7 Mademoiselle cover


Bradbury Thompson  

Bradbury Thompson's early life, influences and some of his amazing design work.

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