[Ed note: Print will be featuring one New Visual Artist per day while the issue is on newsstands. Keep checking back every weekday for new profiles on printmag.com. You can view the entire list of winners here.]
From: New Castle, DE
Lives in: Wilmington, DE
The adage “mother knows best” is especially true for Bondé Prang. In middle school, when Prang was planning on heading to the same local high school as her friends, her mom encouraged her to go to a vocational high school with a graphic design track instead. “I fought her, and I didn’t want to go,” Prang says, but she ended up at the school anyway. Once enrolled, Prang immediately realized it was perfect. With the school’s emphasis on arts and crafts, she found her calling.
Her junior year of high school turned out to be a pivotal one: Andy Cruz, the art director at the seminal type foundry House Industries, based near Prang’s home in Delaware, came to her high school to judge a graphic design contest. As Cruz walked around the room filled with anonymous works, he singled out Prang’s pieces as favorites. Prang, a quiet student, was surprised to see her work being discussed. She was even more surprised when Cruz offered her an internship; she was so shy that she refused until a teacher intervened. (She won the contest that year, and the next, too.)
After attending college for a year, Prang quit school to take a full-time position at House Industries, and she’s been a designer with the firm ever since. Her work for the studio— she is in charge of all the catalogs featuring the foundry’s typefaces—combines a sophisticated sense of style with a vernacular grooviness, fitting for a type house whose fonts include both Neutra and Tiki Type.
Prang has a highbrow/lowbrow approach that exhibits itself in strange ways: She adores French New Wave films to the point that her friends have tried to “desnob” her, yet she has a fondness for amateur design that’s “kind of crappy.” She describes herself as a designer with “blue-collar roots, little formal training, and an affinity for all things handmade.”
About the author:
Claire Lui has written about books, movies, design for Martha Stewart Living, Entertainment Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Columbia College Today. She lives in Astoria, Queens.