Are letterheads soon going to be obsolete? With email, texting and mind-melding communications, there may no longer be a need to write letters on paper. While business and personal logos will still exist, showing them off, printed well on a sheet of bond, may be a vestige of a bygone age.
Still, admiration of great—and not so great, but campy—letterheads continues among the design community. I once heard an advertising man at the Art Directors Club of New York say when asked to define what graphic designers did: “They make letterheads.” Of course, it’s a gross diminution of the role, yet there’s no shame in making a great letterhead.
Designer: Stefan Kantscheff, Bulgaria
The examples below are from Der Briefbogen In Der Welt (An International Letterhead Revue) published by Zanders Fine Paper GMBH in the early 1960s. The foreword by Kurt Weidemann noted that “It is scarcely possible … to attach too much importance to the letterhead and the wide scope of possibilities it offers as a characterization of its sender.”
If you like letterheads, these eclectic and modern examples will make you want to design one today.
Designer: Klaus Winterhager, Germany
Designer: Olaf Leu, Germany
Designer: Hans Haderek, Germany
Designer: F.G. Boes. Germany
Designer: William R. Stone, USA
Designer:; Herb Lubalin, USA
Designer: Herb Lubalin, USA
Designer: Baumgartner Papier, Switzerland
Designer: Felix Behrmann, Switzerland
Designer: Valter Falk, Sweden
Designer: Jan Hollender, Poland
Designer: Peter Brattinga, Netherlands
Designer: Henry Steiner, Hong Kong
Designer: Fletcher/Crosby/Forbes/Gill, UK
Designer: Oldrich Hlavsa, Czechoslovakia
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