Sunday, 19 June 2011

No11 Additional thoughts on where to go next Part 4... Letraset

Reflective Journal Entry No11 19/06/11

Once again delving back into the archive's and my personal archive experience, as I mentioned earlier while I was recently searching through some of my old college work, I came across photocopies from an old Letraset catalogue from 1978, in fact my first contact with Letraset was in 77, just after I had started college, and a rep from the company was visiting the college to promote products to the 3rd and 4th year Graphic students. I had just by chance had a tutorial with Tony, and he got a call that the rep had arrived, and he said 'fella here's a chance to make a start, and also you will get a few freebies in the process'. Tony wasn't wrong I received a small pack of type transfers and paper, plus a couple of marker pens, not bad for a 1st year fresher, the others were stunned.

This proved to be a pivotal moment for me, as before this I was not aware of the company and it's products and after this I was determined to get to know all their products, also by chance in early 78, my Father was given a couple of copies of the new catalogue (he sold photocopiers to design and advertising clients in Manchester) and I was able to have a selection of copies from these to use for my college work reference.

Tony designed fonts, which were featured in the book, and also knew many of the type designers of the day who also had work in the book, and even the Creative Director, Phil Grimshaw. Other contemporaries of the day were Trevor Johnson, Lionel Hatch and Ben Casey, these were the icons of the day from Manchester for me and the kind of design environment my work grew up in, in addition to David Hillman and Saul Bass and Herb Lubalin, in fact the type poster of Lubalin's featured in the previous post closely resembles the poster which was on the wall above me in the studio at college for the next 3 years, next to this was Tony's own multiple font poster and the work of Phil Grimshaw.

The main thing for me looking back on this now was how at the time I took all this for granted. A large part of the way my work developed, my design style, my appreciation of the hand drawn font form, still sits within my current practice today. Letraset were the masters of the day, if you needed any dry transfer, whether it be type, images, tones, colours or markers, and spray systems, there were the leaders, long before Apple technology and long before Adobe, it was hand crafted, it was conventional and it was a skill you had to train for.

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