Life and work
Communication Arts opened an article on Bradbury Thompson, in its March/April 1999 issue, like this: “When it came to the blending of photography, typography and color, nobody did it better than Bradbury Thompson… In his own quiet way, he expanded the boundaries of the printed page and influenced the design of a generation of art directors.”
Thompson was born in Topeka, Kansas. He attended Washburn College and graduated in 1934 . A facility called the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center now stands at Washburn University. In 1937, Thompson designed the college’s mascot, “The Ichabod.”
Thompson was art director of Mademoiselle magazine for fifteen years beginning in 1945.
Thompson served on the faculty of Yale University. He received the AIGA Gold Medal in 1975. He received the Type Director’s Club Medal in 1986.
He died on November 1, 1995.
Thompson developed Alphabet 26 or a “monoalphabet” – an alphabet consisted of just one case (instead of using separate uppercase and lowercase letterforms as typefaces typically do). His monoalphabet was a modern serif (comparable to Bodoni) with lowercase a, e, m and n mixed with uppercase B, D, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P, Q, R, T, U and Y. (The forms of C/c, O/o, S/s, V/v, W/w, X/x and Z/z are essentially the same in uppercase and lowercase in the first place.)
Alphabet 26 does not eliminate uppercase; however, uppercase letters are simply larger versions of their lowercase counterparts. This was intended to regularize the letters of the alphabet, making them more logical and intuitive, and also making learning the alphabet easier for children. Thompson first published the alphabet in a Westvaco Inspirations for Printers.
The set of letters for Alphabet 26 thus appears:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z