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Work / Exhibition

Unit Editions’ study of Letraset takes on a new form in this Sheffield exhibition

Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, held at the Sheffield Institute of Arts, takes a comprehensive look at the history of the rubdown lettering system. Based on the Unit Editions book of the same name, the exhibition considers both the heyday of Letraset – with millions of sheets being sold from the beginning of the 1960s until the 1990s – and its present-day revival.

As Adrian Shaughnessy wrote in a statement on the show: “In the short gap between the end of hot metal setting and the arrival of desktop publishing, with its range of ultra-modish typefaces, Letraset offered designers – and crucially, non-designers–a low-cost passport to instant typographic hipness”. And while in the pre-digital era Letraset “functioned as a metaphorical lifeboat for graphic designers”; it’s now used as more of a creative tool and aesthetic reference, as something that takes time and is itself a limited resource.

The exhibition, curated by Pam Bowman, features everything from magazine covers —including Raygun and Blah Blah Blah — and record sleeves, to reference books, type experiments and illustrative applications of Letraset, as well as a workshop area for people to try it out for themselves.

‘Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution’ runs ‘til 28th October 2018.

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts

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Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, at Sheffield Institute of Arts