Love of LetrasetJune 12, 2014 by Elisabeth Rutt
I have long had a love of Letraset, those rub down transfer sheets of lettering, punctuation marks, borders, textures and symbols used by Graphic designers from 1961 to the early 1980s.
This feeling comes from using Letraset as a child when my Father would give me partly used sheets, leftover from his job as a ‘Commercial Artist’, I think he would now be known as a graphic designer and Illustrator. I wasn’t interested in using Letraset to write text but in making patterns from the various alphabets, punctuation and symbols which I would then colour in. It wasn’t the easiest thing to use as a child, too much pressure and the backing sheet would buckle and move so breaking the printed transfer. Too little and the letter would not leave the sheet at all. There was always a preferred biro that would do the trick just right.
Following my Father’s death, in one of his plan chest drawers I found a collection of old, some would call them vintage, sheets of Letraset, some pristine and some part used. There were texture sheets as well as lettering, which I don’t remember being allowed to use, I expect they were too useful to him! I even found a sheet of ‘waterslide’ white lettering that looks a nightmare to use. I do remember watching him use them not appreciating the skill involved. Floating individual letters off of the backing sheet and then applying the wet and delicate letter to original artwork, who would have imagined that graphic designers needed to be so brave!
I am now in a dilemma, I am desperate to use them but are they now a piece of design history that I should be preserving? I have used a little of some of the started sheets in sketchbooks and am surprised that the process as well as the results are pure nostalgia.
Sometimes it is good to play as an eight year old would.
Tags: nostalgia, sketchbooks