LeRoy Winbush (1915-2007)
LeRoy Winbush was a great design pioneer who would open the door for many other black designers to follow. Mr. Winbush started out designing signage, murals and flyers for the Regal Theater. There he met various performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Music had a great impact on his work and he later designed album covers for the Ramsey Lewis Trio and many other groups who were signed to Mercury Records. He was the first black member of the Art Directors Club of Chicago. Five years after he was accepted he became the president of the organization. He was the art director for all of the Goldblatt’s stores and he also became a very accomplished airbrush illustrator.
Winbush eventually founded his own firm called Winbush Associates. The name was later changed to Winbush Design. He was also the art director for Johnson Publishing where he designed layouts for magazines including Ebony and Jet. At one point he also taught visual communications at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and typography at Columbia College Chicago. Mr. Winbush had discovered other outlets for his design expertise which included exhibit design. Winbush helped design the Illinois’s exhibit at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. This exhibit included Abraham Lincoln, which was the prototype for Disney World’s Hall of Presidents. Winbush believed that he could use design as a tool to help the black community. The AIGA national board refers to Winbush as being a great motivator for designers of color. LeRoy Winbush won the 2008 AIGA medal, which only reflects his extraordinary work.