Occasionally, I’m asked about where the name Lestaret comes from. It’s a logical question – I use it as my general ID on the internet, and operate my freelance design business under the name too, but I am always surprised at how many people just don’t get it. It is simply a mashup of the old Letraset brand, once a synonymous part of the design for print industry, but now probably more known for its brand of Tria marker pens.
I grew up with dry-transfer lettering – you could buy little sheets of letters at WHSmiths to put on greetings cards and stuff – pretty naff, but this was a great way to add neat lettering to stuff. As long as you were happy with black letters. Always black. There were some in white, but no-one ever bought white.
I then cut my teeth on the stuff as a student – we didn’t see a Mac until the final term of our course. After the demonstration where a chap with a moustache gave us an awkward demonstration, resulting with him printing off a picture of a parrot and some text in a very pixelated Old English on a black and white matrix dot printer! We rolled our teenage eyes and said “it’ll never catch on” and went back into the darkroom to process some Copyproofs…
My friend Nick recently gave me this original Letraset paper bag filled with goodies:
Inside were many sheets and half-sheets of Letraset Helvetica in various weights and sizes, along with a few number sheets and symbols.
There were a few sheets of Chartpak too – considered a less professional brand to the aspiring graphic designer!
And a few sheets of Normatype by Meccanorma, which came in these little sheets:
On the back of the bag is a suppliers stamp and I am very pleased to say that Walters is still going strong!
There was a special feeling when using a fresh sheet for the very first time… thanks again, Nick!