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Letraset

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Letraset is a company based in the Kingsnorth Industrial Estate in Ashford, Kent, UK. It is known mainly for manufacturing sheets of artwork elements which can be transferred to artwork being prepared. The name Letraset was often used to refer generically to sheets of dry transferrable lettering of any brand. This technique was very widespread for lettering and other elements before the advent of the computer techniques of word processing and desktop publishing.

When artwork was prepared by hand, Letraset sheets were available with letters in a large range of typefaces, styles, sizes, symbols, and other graphic elements. The letters could be transferred one by one to artwork being prepared. This was always a tedious job, but the alternative, to do the lettering by hand, was also tedious and required graphic artist skills.

The name Letraset comes from the lettering application, once ubiquitous but now rarely used, although still available. Currently, Letraset's line of print patterns and textures are more commonly used than its lettering.

History

Letraset saw a decline in the sales of their materials in the early 1990s so moved into the desktop publishing industry, releasing software packages for the Macintosh such as ImageStudio and ColorStudio. These never saw widespread success. However, as Letraset held the rights to their fonts that had been popular on the dry transfer sheets, it made sense to enter the digital font market. Letraset thus began releasing many fonts in formats such as PostScript.

Fonts from designers such as Alan Meeks, Martin Wait, Tim Donaldson and David Quay were released, and many can be found on online retailers such as Fontshop. Some fonts retain 'Letraset' in their title whereas others have been renamed by their new vendors such as ITC.

A selection of fonts is still sold from their web site, separated into fonts from Fontek and Red Rooster.

As for software, the only products listed are Manga Studio EX and Envelopes, a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator.

Letraset is the maker of the Tria Markers (which formerly had the Pantone prefix) as well as other design products.