200 years of typography and letters found online


From Letterform Archive: work by Ladislav Sutnar

When Letter shape archives Opened in 2015, it has become an immediate destination for lovers of typography and letters – it has already welcomed more than 5,000 visitors from 30 countries. They come for letterheads, sketches and inks; for the graphics of Pixar film titles; for 19th century Kanji scripts; for calligraphy, design and typography. Founded by Rob Saunders, the non-profit library and museum is dedicated to the preservation (and education) of the literary arts. The contents of the San Francisco-based archives span thousands of years, from 2,300 BCE to today. They host exhibitions and events and offer character creation workshops.

And now, if you can’t visit, you can access it from home.

A screenshot from the Letterform digital archive

From Letterform Archive: work by Elaine Lustig Cohen

On November 29, the first participants of Letterform Archive’s membership program gained access to the Online Archives – a digital space of the museum’s highlights. It was launched with a first thousand articles; when it opens to the general public, you will have access to more than 3,000 images, from 1844 to 2016. You will find book covers, manuals, advertising drawings, posters, “plans” of characters, images of boxes and boxes, and in-store displays. You can also create your own typography sets, described as the tables – a reference to the current Letterform archive table, where the collections are kept for visitors.

From Letterform Archive: work by Wendingen Magazine.

Some highlights of the collection include work by: Michael Doret, who is known for his contributions to Moana and other Disney films; Jacob Jongert, the Dutch modernist who in the 1930s created advertisements for Van Nelle, a tea and tobacco maker; and the graphic design magazine of Zuzana Licko and Rudy VanderLans, Emigrated., first published in 1984. Its first 11 issues were digitized for the first time and made available in the Archives.

From digital archive of letter shapes.

From Letterform Archive: work of Martin Venezky.

Membership fees are varied and reasonable – if you’re a student or teacher it’s $ 30 per year; a regular membership is $ 60. There are also other options – named Bold, Extra daring, Noir, and Ultra, in keeping with the theme – and they’re all tax deductible. The benefits also exist offline: Digital Archives members get discounts on workshops and pre-orders of archival publications, as well as recordings of the Salon series lectures and panels, which is great if you, like many members online, cannot make it to San Francisco.

For more information or to register, click on here.

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Located in New York’s Hudson Valley, students have immediate access to the Hessel Museum of Art and the CCS Bard Library and Archives. Apply before February 1, 2022.


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