Colin Brignall was born in Warwickshire, England, in 1940. After leaving school in the mid 1950s he began work as a photographic apprentice in London's Fleet Street. He joined the type design studio of Letraset Limited in 1963 as a photographic technician. Letraset were pioneers in graphic arts products and it was here that Brignall learned the design and art skills which would underpin his career.
His first project was assisting Fred Lambert to produce the first original typefaces for the Instant Lettering range. Brignall also worked on the successful Compacta series of condensed display faces.
In 1970, Brignall took a break from Letraset to design corporate identity faces, but he returned in 1974 as a senior type designer. He produced a number of type families including Romic Light (1979), Corinthian (1981) and Edwardian (1983).
Brignall became the type director of Letraset in 1980, and working with a network of designers and calligrapher, he oversaw a flood of new designs. In 2000 he was awarded the infrequently given Type Directors Club (TDC) gold medal "in recognition of outstanding contributions to typographic excellence". One of the major reasons that the TDC chose to honour him was his continuing encouragement and support of new talent.
Brignall now works as typographic consultant to International Typeface Corporation.