Member Spotlight: Kevin Bradley

What is your job? Where do you work? 

What is my job? Good question. My job is to create the highest quality hand-printed letterpress product available on a custom basis. It’s doing contemporary graphic design with antiquated methods and equipment. The work I produce is genuine and authentic in its inception and completion, using hand-set typography from my collection which now nears 1,000 fonts of type, color and image blocks, as well as custom typography that is hand drawn and hand carved into woodblocks to create a uniquely traditional look of authentic letterpress. I do a variety of work, from business cards, identity, invitations for wedding and special events, all manner of poster work and advertising as well as personal fine art, folk art and typographic based prints. I do some collaborative fine art edition work with artists that I admire like COOP who does the smoking devil head and the really sexy girls as well as SHAG aka Josh Agle who is know for his mid-century modern themed art.

What are your inspirations?

My inspirations are varied, mostly my heroes, El Lissitzky, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, Louis Lozowick, Constantin Alajalov, Hendrik Werkman, Hans Arp, George Grosz, Hannah Hoch, Francis Picabia among others.

What do you like most about what you do?

What I enjoy mostly is working in the same arena, which basically means creating without the involvement of the computer. I consider myself a typographer, the letterform is the backbone of my body of work for the last 25 years. There is no escaping the power of the word.

What do you dislike most? 

There is no room for dislike, it’s all part of the package. As designers, we all do a lot of things we’d rather not do. Yet we do them and our strength lies in what heart and soul we can give to any project to make it come alive. There are always lots of victories and heartbreaks in the process.

What product or gadget strikes your fancy?

Products and gadgets? I could probably use a “Manpon” which is one of my created ‘signature products.’  I’m also working on some “Goiter butter.”  I entertain myself by making fake products in my spare time. I don’t have any gadgets. That’s something I’m going to strive to make this year. Maybe a “Pica Rule/Bottle Opener.” That would be awesome.

How long have you been a member of the AIGA, why did you join and what do you get out of membership?

I’ve been a member off and on of AIGA since 1989 or so. I wanted to rejoin and reconnect to my people. I always ask designers how long they’ve been working, if they say ten years, I say, “You should get a fucking medal.” Ha, ha! And for dinosaurs like me who have 20-plus years, we think a golden toilet statue is in order. All kidding aside, I still love my profession, it is completely satisfying to me and I feel great joy and pride in creating work that enriches the lives of others. It’s good to be back, and I hope to see all of the designers in LA at The Church of Type.

What are your favorite websites?

I don’t have time to look at website, I run a letterpress shop. So true…

By Julie Manthey
Published December 3, 2013
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.