Bradbury Thompson (1911–1995), the elegant American designer who made Westvaco Inspirations a design studio must-have, produced many unheralded things. Among his clients were the Famous Artists Schools, Inc., from Westport, Connecticut, for which he designed their annual reports. All Thompson’s work was typographically precise, and the 1963 annual report is no exception. But Thompson was also a storyteller, using whatever graphic and visual means were at his disposal.
The Famous Artists Schools (and the Famous Writers Schools) were prospering in 1963 . They employed as teachers some of the most famous illustrators, cartoonists, designers, and photographers. They were the top of the correspondence school (or Home Study) ladder. They were the precursor to what’s now called “distance learning.” For this annual report, Thompson composed full page grids with photographs of the leading names of the day. Let’s play a guessing game. How many of these artists can you recognize? (Note: If you get only one you’ll still be a winner.)
Although under different management, The Famous Artists School is still operating.