Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The rub...

It’s funny the way things pop into dreams. Last night it was Letraset, that wonderful rub down lettering that only a few years ago was so important in my life. I used to spend hours deciding with typeface to use on a piece of design and would pour over the Letraset catalogue looking for just the right font. That catalogue was like a bible and each year the anticipation of the latest Letraset catalogue and the new faces that it would contain was almost like waiting for Christmas.

In my dream I was rubbing down Letraset 10pt Univers Light. At that size and with that weight Letraset was a little hard to handle and getting it straight was a challenge. If it was an old sheet the letters had a tendency to crumble as you rubbed them down with your burnisher and the sheet I was using was not only old but dusty too – a disastrous combination. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it right and of course, as with all of my dreams, I was up against the clock and something extremely vital was relying on my success. I can’t remember if I got it right in the end, but I awoke with my mind full of fond memories of Letraset.

Some of those fonts were fantastic and it was easy to manipulate the rub down lettering, overlaying it on top of each other to make instant design. It wasn’t just lettering either, you could get rub down trees, cars, figures, pointing fingers, stars, borders – Letraset was a graphic designers dream even though I never did get the hang of the spacing guides underneath each individual letter.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a sheet of Letraset let alone used one, and looking back it all seems very strange in this world of computers and practically unlimited fonts. There was a real skill to using it well though and I’m sure I could still do it if I needed to in the real world and not in a dream.

Letraset, another great innovation consigned to the scrap heap… And that’s the rub.

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