Letraset – a history: from church bazaar to bondage zine

In an exclusive extract from Unit Editions’ forthcoming book on the history of Letraset, Adrian Shaughnessy looks at the impact of the type system on visual culture and how it helped to democratise typography

Unit Editions’ forthcoming book, Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution, is the first comprehensive visual history of the rub-down lettering system that offered an alternative to professional typesetting – and revolutionised how type could be incorporated into design projects.

Four years in the making, the book charts the story of the company, from its founding in 1959 to its present-day revival and features contributions from key members of the Letraset team alongside interviews with a range of designers who have made use of the system in their work, including Erik Brandt, Freda Sack and Dan Rhatigan.

In the book’s central essay, ‘From church bazaar to bondage zine’ – an extract from which is presented below – Adrian Shaughnessy looks at the impact the type system had on visual culture. The book is available to pre-order now from uniteditions.com and is expected to ship in mid-January 2018.

SENIOR DESIGNER

London (Euston)

MID-WEIGHT DESIGNER

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

DESIGNER

Witney, Oxfordshire

HEAD OF DESIGN

Winchester