Bradbury Thompson (1)

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Bradbury Thompson was an innovative American graphic designer of the 20th century. He is well known for his ability to combine different typefaces from various centuries along with historic illustrations and photographs. Thompson was a man with a very keen eye and that is shown clearly through his work. Throughout his life, he worked on many incredible projects including working as an art director for the Mademoiselle Magazine, and designing a new english alphabet method that made it easier for new readers.

Thompson also was the creator of the Washburn College Bible, featuring a lovely combination of biblical story paintings as chapter openings and the modern Sabon typeface. It is one of the true representations of his style.

His Life in Advertising

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Thompson’s designs proved to be intriguing forms of advertisement for his clients as he used a playful, bright colour palette in combination with unique layouts to capture the public’s eye. This is best represented through his work with Westvaco Paper Corporation and their company magazine, Westvaco Inspirations. I think the most intriguing part about this was that corporate magazines were a dying field. But despite the fact, Thompson still took this project on. In the end he succeeded in creating something that demonstrated both the use and quality the company produced, as well as something informative and visually appealing. This was different from the corporate magazines being produced at the time and helped to set Westvaco Paper Corporation apart from its competitors.

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Image result for bradbury thompson westvaco inspirations

In my opinion, the designs he made for Westvaco Inspirations is the epitome of his career. It brought his designs to the public and allowed him total creative freedom. There is a modernity to his designs that at the same time harkens back to historical events. Bradbury Thompson is still a relevant inspiration to designers today because of his style.

Works Cited:

“Bradbury Thompson’s Civil War.” Print Magazine, 5 Apr. 2017,

“Bradbury Thompson | Graphic Design Archive | RIT Libraries | RIT.” About the Cary Collection | Cary Graphic Arts Collection, RIT Archive Collections, 1 Jan. 1968,

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