A couple of posts recently on The Daily Heller brought to mind graphic design waaay back in the day before digital type. And sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves (and educate others) as to how we got to where we are.
Before downloading clipart and dingbats (and fonts) there was actual metal type. Along those same lines, all symbols, emblems, and other design elements were also in metal form as well. Ever wonder why so much of earlier printed work looked so similar – that was the reason.
Various manufacturers created the type and sold it to printers. You’ll still see vestiges of this today if you look at stationer’s engraving sample type, or other engraving services type. It looked something like this:
That’s a lot of type to keep up with!
I know later on one might also purchase sheets of fonts and peel and press the letters onto a white board. I spent many an hour looking through Monotype and other foundries’ specimen books – not to purchase fonts, but just to look at the fonts. This was before it foundries (and other resellers/providers) moved to a primarily internet-based business and all fonts were digital.
Back to our metal print logos and designs. Here’s some sheets from the Sterling Type Foundry in Charlotte, Michigan produced in the 40’s (original material is here)
What I find interesting is the looking at the earlier versions of some familiar logos (and some that no longer exist) and some of the early organizations. It’s designs like these that reflect where we were some 70+ years ago.