Born Ephram Edward Benguiat in 1927, he grew up in Brooklyn, New York, playing with his father's drawing materials. Before the Second World War, he had a promising career as a jazz percussionist, and he picked this up again after serving with the Air Corp - which he joined with the aid of a forged birth certificate - during the war. However, acknowledging that a music career could see him still playing at bar mitzvahs as an old man, he used the GI bill to go to college. He enrolled at the Workshop School of Advertising Art, training as an illustrator.
After his studies, he changed tack, working as a graphic designer and art director. And he is a prolific typeface designer, with over 600 typefaces to his credit, including ITC Tiffany, ITC Bookman, ITC Panache, and the eponymous ITC Benguiat, as well as logotypes for The New York Times, Playboy, and Sports Illustrated. He is also credited with playing an important role in the establishment of ITC.
His work has won him acclaim, including a gold medal from the New York Type Directors Club and the prestigious Fredric W. Goudy Award. An avid pilot with his own personal plane, he currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He also lectures and exhibits internationally.
[LC, October 2009]