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Tom Carnase Papers

Thomas Paul Carnase was born in the Bronx, New York, on September 15, 1939. Following his graduation from the city's High School of Music and Art in 1957, he earned an associate bachelor of fine arts from New York City Community College in 1959. His career as a graphic designer, lettering artist, type and logo designer, typographer, and art director developed through his work with the firms Sudler & Hennessey, Inc. (1959-1964), Bonder & Carnase Studio, Inc. (with Ronné Bonder, 1965-1969), Lubalin, Burns & Company, Inc. (with Herb Lubalin and Aaron Burns, 1970), and Lubalin Smith Carnase, Inc. (1969-1979), the latter a partnership with designers Herb Lubalin and Ernie Smith. In 1979 he founded Carnase Inc. and Carnase Computer Typography, and in 1981, the World Typeface Center, Inc. The designer of more than fifty typefaces and corporate logos, Tom Carnase regularly entered, as well as judged, international design competitions, and was a popular guest lecturer for schools and professional groups around the world. Carnase was also the editor of the design journal Ligature published by the World Typeface Center from 1982 to 1987.

The Tom Carnase Papers span the period from 1956 through 2004 and contains correspondence, photographs, slides, tear sheets, printed ephemera, drawings, and other graphic materials covering the professional life and work of the lettering artist, type and logo designer, typographer, and art director Tom Carnase. The collection is organized into two series: I. Personal and Professional Papers, and II. Graphic Work. The second series holds the bulk of the collection: hundreds of pencil and ink sketches and drawings, stats, and printed pieces featuring lettering and logos he designed and drew, including final drawings for many of his noted typefaces. The collection not only documents the wide range of Carnase's work, it also shows the process of creating typefaces and free-hand lettering for advertising, book jackets, letterhead, and other uses, from conception to final product.

Series I, Personal and Professional Papers (1956-2004) contains correspondence, desk calendars, awards, photographs, publicity files, and sets of slides that Carnase created, organized, and labeled, for use in promoting and lecturing about his work. He was a popular speaker who regularly presented his ideas before colleagues, art directors, and students around the world for more than twenty years. The correspondence files hold records on some of his appearances from Hartford to Phoenix, as well as well as in South Africa in 1976 and Australia in 1986. Carnase's award certificates date back to 1956 when he won a contest sponsored by the National Live Stock and Meat. Also here are slides of three New York offices at 223 East 31st Street, 217 East 28th Street, and 30 East 21st Street (1982); some of the images include Carnase and Herbert Lubalin at work. Also present are three trade signs from his offices, and a set of drawing instruments he used in his work.

Series II, Graphic Work (1959-2004) includes both print pieces and examples of Carnase's original lettering and type designs. Included here are letterheads he designed for his firms and a variety of clients, as well as posters, dust jackets, and one piece of packaging, a container for L'eggs pantyhose .

View this collection's record in the RIT Libraries Catalog.