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.
About the Author
Billie studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art before completing an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. She joined It’s Nice That as a Freelance Editorial Assistant back in January 2015 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis.