At its annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia, IDSA honored Mr. Spilman for his illustrious career. In particular, he was honored for his post-retirement work compiling an immense collection of tapes on which the profession's early leaders speak anecdotally of the people they knew, the products they shaped and the lessons they learned.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Mr. Spilman studied at Kansas State University from 1933 to 1934, worked for General Motors as a stylist from 1935 to 1939, joined Walter Dorwin Teague Associates in 1940 as staff designer, and also worked for Henry Dreyfuss Associates in New York. In 1942 he joined Johnson/Cushing/Nevell as director of product design before opening his own office in 1946 in Darien, Connecticut. Among his many products was Underwood's 1958 Documentor electric typewriter that set a typeform for electrics.
He was president of ASID from 1960 to1962, and was active in the Inter-Society Color Council. An avid watercolorist, he retired to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.