PENCIL IT IN

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History

LetterMaker shapes are universal. They can be found in everyday objects
and forms. How did they end up on LetterMaker?

 

It started in a basement.

This stencil, the Heyer Du-all Lettering Guide (shown below), belonged to my grandfather.

This particular stencil, the "Speed-O-Print 3/4 Inch Plain", got me thinking about stencils and their individual modules as efficient tools for creating letters — particularly the O, P, Q, R section of the alphabet. Speed-O-Print Co. likely wanted to streamline the efficiency of lettering with the stencil and they probably wanted cut down on the length of the stencil, so they chopped up these 4 letters and made modules instead. This allowed the letterer to create all the letters they needed with a simple selection of shapes. 

kt018.jpg

O-P-Q-R

This particular stencil, the "Speed-O-Print 3/4 Inch Plain", got me thinking about stencils and their individual modules as efficient tools for creating letters — particularly the O, P, Q, R section of the alphabet.


stencil_cut.jpg

Failures

I originally created the LetterMaker prototype as a part of my Master's thesis at the Maryland Institute College of Art. This first LetterMaker, then called "Letter Stencil", was a part of a brand of eccentric office supplies for designers. 

The "Letter Stencil" (at left) was a complex smattering of over 90 shapes that overwhelmed audiences. The ruler ticks on the side and the "stroke", "serif", and "shapes" sections seemed to force participants into creating a specific type of mark on the page. It's 8x8" foot print too large and not conducive for everyday carry.

In short, those who used this early "Letter Stencil" were more confused than amused.


A special thanks to all those who have contributed their moral and artistic support — namely Melt Prints, Adam Fischer (photographer), Workshop hosts, and my peers and mentors at the Maryland Institute College of Art MFA Program.