Mr. Burns, a native of Passaic, New Jersey, began his career in graphic arts as an apprentice after he left Army service at the end of World War II. In 1952 he became director of design and typography at the Composing Room, a Manhattan typography shop.
He opened his own business in 1963 and six years later joined Herbert Lubalin to found the company that became International Typeface Corporation, of which he was president until it was sold in 1986. He continued as its chairman until his death. ITC was a type manufacturer founded in New York in 1970 by Burns, Herb Lubalin, and Edward Rondthaler. The company was one of the world’s first type foundries to have no history in the production of metal type. It is now a wholly owned brand or subsidiary of Monotype Imaging.
Burns was the author of the book “Typography,” published in 1961 by Rheinhold. He also taught typographic design at the Pratt Institute from 1955 to 1960.
In addition to receiving the TDC medal, Burns was inducted into the New York Art Directors Hall of Fame in 1983 and was made an honorary vice president of the Association Typographique Internationale.
Listen to Allan Haley talk about the life and accomplishments of Aaron Burns in this video from the Type Directors Club 2017 conference, Type Over Time.