I’m old enough to remember the days before personal computers, when graphic artists turned to a family of products collectively known as “press-type” or “dry transfer type” as an alternative to hand-drawn lettering for advertising layouts and other printed materials. For $4.00-$7.00 you’d get an 8.5″x11″ sheet of waxed paper with as many letters, numerals, punctuation marks, and/or ding-bats that could fit on the page, depending on the type-size,type-face, and type-style. (note the difference in jargon as back then there were no “fonts”) To get them off the wax paper onto the mock-up, you’d place the sheet wrong-side up positioned exactly where you wanted it and use a metal or plastic burnishing tool and very firmly but gently rub each individual character off the wax and onto your paper. It was a real pain if you made a mistake either in placement or in execution as you’d have to gently scratch off the character with a razor blade without harming the paper below it. Believe it or not, when press-type was first invented, it was considered a real time saver! It also allowed the grunt-job of doing the “keylining” or “paste-up” to be done by lower-level employees so the graphic artists and art directors were freed up for more creative or skilled tasks.
With the advent of personal computers and particularly the Mac (which inspired the development of the first graphics application), press-type pretty-much went the way of the dinosaurs. There’s a plethora of fonts available now and they can be manipulated further in a wide variety of apps including word-processors, page-layout and graphics based. But the concept of having the digital equivalent of press-type available on your computer for quick and easy spot jobs where you only need a letter or two or a handful of words, is still compelling. Hence, I’ve created several icon series in a variety of styles which consist of each letter of the alphabet, cardinal numerals, punctuation marks, and a handful of coordinated decorative that could be used as ding-bats. Tonight’s offering is titled: TopHat. Enjoy!
Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day