Anderson is the author of Elements of Design and The Art of Written Forms
1947, University of Wisconsin-Madison art instructor eventually became full Professor
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Donald M. Anderson studied art at the University of Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army as an illustrator in the Ordnance Department of the Pentagon from 1941 to 1946 and then briefly designed books for the army Adjutant General and the civil Aeronautics Board.
In 1947 he accepted a position in the Art Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he taught design, lettering, and watercolor classes until 1982. he authored two influential textbooks, The Elements of Design (1961) and The Art of Written Forms (1969). The latter was reissued in 1992 as Calligraphy: The Art of Written Forms.
His paintings were exhibited widely in the Midwest in the 1950s and 1960s, and throughout his career he did design work for the University of Wisconsin Press, the State of Wisconsin, and several magazines.
He edited and published two facsimiles of Renaissance calligraphic manuals and one artist's book under the imprint Meles Vulgaris Press. He was best known, however, as a calligrapher and teacher of calligraphy. In the 1970s and after his retirement he produced and sold numerous calligraphic booklets and broadsides from a booth on the State Street Mall in Madison.