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William Wondriska Mid century Graphic Designer and Children’s Book Illustrator

August 5, 2013

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William Wondriska was born in 1931 in Oak Park, Illinois.

A renowned graphic designer, William Wondriska is among the protagonists of American graphic design in the second half of 20th century. He studied at Yale University and School of the Art Institute in Chicago and has been professor at several universities in the US. He wrote eleven books for children that have been awarded many prizes by the American Insitute of Graphic Arts. ‘All by myself’ has been originally published in 1963: the author appears inside the book as a bus driver, but the protagonist is actually William’s daughter Alison.

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‘The sound of Things’ was born in the spring of 1955, when a young William Wondriska just before he was drafted into the Armed Services conceived, designed, and printed it in the Department of Design of Yale University, as partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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In addition to his work in promotional design and advertising, Wondriska has written eleven books for children, including A Long Piece of String (1963).

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In 1961 Wondriska founded Wondriska Associates, a design firm which became known for its branding work with such clients as the Walt Disney Company, Children’s Television Workshop, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, and the Boston Symphony.  He was also famous for an enchanting book about a small steam engine called ‘Puff”

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More of William’s creative work here.

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‘A Cat Can’t Count’.

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‘The Tomato Patch’.

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And a couple of more obscure books.

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William studied at Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a Past President of Hartford Art School, which now offers a William Wondriska Graphic Design Award to graphic design students of merit and to support visiting designers.  In 1995 William Wondrinksi was among five university regents and former regents who filed a lawsuit seeking to block Hartford University from absorbing money historically controlled by the Art School Board. William is currently lives in Concord Massachusetts.

I feel his work is beautiful, creative and inspiring. I particularly love the ‘Puff’ book with it’s clever combination of text, imagery and strong visual storyline. Showing once again that a strong simple message often speaks volumes.

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