Learning from Letraset with Dan Rhatigan

This talk took place on February 22, 2016 in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union as part of Type@Cooper’s Herb Lubalin Lecture Series.

Letraset and other brands of rub-down type literally put typography in the hands of the people. Rub-down type made it possible for students, professionals, and everyone else to design with real typefaces, without needing professional typesetting services. A cheap and easy way to experiment with typography and other graphic elements, Letraset put a lot of care into making type easy to use well, but it also resulted in a lot of ways to use type badly, but with interesting results. With some care and attention, however, it was a great way to develop an eye for typography.

This talk was a look at Letraset’s type and other graphic supplies, showing how they put the tools of professional design into everyday hands. It also looked at how people had to improvise with Letraset, and made the most of the materials at hand.

Dan Rhatigan worked as a designer and typographer for 15 years in Boston and New York before moving to England in 2006 for graduate school at the University of Reading. After receiving his MA in Typeface Design, he spent 7 seven years working with Monotype as researcher, type designer, and eventually Type Director. He now lives in New York City again, where he works as an independent type designer and consultant.

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