Letraset and other brands of rub-down type literally put typography in the hands of the people. Rub-down type made it possible for students, professionals, and everyone else to design with real typefaces, without needing professional typesetting services. A cheap and easy way to experiment with typography and other graphic elements, Letraset put a lot of care into making type easy to use well, but it also resulted in a lot of ways to use type badly, but with interesting results. With some care and attention, however, it was a great way to develop an eye for typography.
This talk was a look at Letraset’s type and other graphic supplies, showing how they put the tools of professional design into everyday hands. It also looked at how people had to improvise with Letraset, and made the most of the materials at hand.
A couple of years ago I wrote about a trend in magazine cover design that felt like was becoming a real cliché — centered title, single image with a border, maybe a bit of non-hierarchical list about what’s inside. After a recent visit to the newer, larger Magma shop in Covent Garden, I can see that this very homogeneous style for independent mags is still deeply entrenched, and spreading.