How we did lettering the old fashioned way: a collection of clips featuring analogue technology in use

Pencil by default: that was how we worked before the first Apple Macintosh systems arrived on the market. Newspapers were printed on metal type printing presses. Letters were added by hand, using typesetting equipment. Either at home or in the office, Letraset was your first port of call for transferring typefaces onto page. Many of us in the pre-computer age, either got our hands messy with Cow gum or inhaled magic markers. Or they took two hours trying to spell their name on a John Bull Printing Set (great if you had a name like Ian Ure, less so if you had a name like Vennegoor of Hesselink).

Today’s leaflets and reports are done with a variety of open source or proprietary software. Sometimes up in the cloud like Adobe’s Creative Suite or the Google Drive apps, or with QuarkXpress on your hard drive.

For today’s post, we go back to the era when lettering meant Letraset. Before your very eyes, here’s a selection of clips.

Kroy lettering system

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNHaU6lxCbM

Back in 1983, the Apple Macintosh had yet to make into the desktop publishing field. There was either traditional methods or (if you had serious money to burn) the Xerox Alto workstation. If you were too clumsy with the Letraset, the Kroy lettering system was a good alternative.

Leroy lettering set

Before Comic Sans MS, comics had manually written text. There was also another way: the Leroy lettering set. This enabled you to copy text from a strip of letters and punctuation marks. They were a boom for cartoonists and architects.

Letraset dry transfer lettering

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed6iXQW_O1U

If you couldn’t afford a Kroy lettering system, Letraset dry transfer sets were, and remains, a more affordable alternative. From your newsagent or art shop, you could get Letraset transfers with a choice of typefaces. With DTP largely consigning this method to history, art shops still sell the transfers, though with a more limited range.

Dreamkatcha, 13 December 2016.