MacArthur Fellows Program

Charles A. Bigelow

Graphic Designer | Class of 1982

Graphic Designer
Stanford, California
37 at time of award
Published August 1, 1982

About Charles' Work

Charles Bigelow combines anthropological training with a literary sensibility and a technical knowledge of graphic systems.

Bigelow studies the history and theory of typography, writes poetry, designs phonetic fonts for Native American languages and literature, and designs typefaces for computer interfaces and electronic publishing.  His works include Crow Captain’s Song (poetry, 1978) and articles on typography and type design.  He is the co-editor of The Computer and the Hand in Type Design (1985), and the co-designer of “Lucida” (1985-92), an original family of typefaces for computer screens and printers.  His artwork has been exhibited at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, and Mills College.


Bigelow is vice-president of Bigelow & Holmes, Inc., and was a professor of digital typography in the Departments of Art and Computer Science at Stanford University from 1982-1997.  He has served on the editorial boards of journals including Electronic Publishing and Fine Print, and is a past president of the committee on research and education in letterforms of the Association Typographique Internationale.

Bigelow received a B.A. (1967) from Reed College. He also studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, Portland State University, and Harvard University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Select News Coverage of Charles A. Bigelow
August 25, 2015
"Why the Wingdings Font Exists"
Charles A. Bigelow , 1982 MacArthur Fellow
August 3, 2008
"Me, Myself and I"
The New York Times Magazine
Charles A. Bigelow , 1982 MacArthur Fellow
August 1, 1983
"Digital Typography"
Scientific American
Charles A. Bigelow , 1982 MacArthur Fellow
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