George Steere, the proprietor of “Sign Letters,” stated his terms were “net cash,” “no discount” for his white enameled, wood, glass, brass and paper letters for window signs. Nor was there any allowance for breakage in transportation: “All goods carefully packed and shipped at purchaser’s risk,” he wrote.
Steere also wrote, “Since the first introduction of Sign Letters for window use (about 1882 in Chicago), their rapid increase in public use has furnished the most conclusive proof of their popularity and desirability.” He notes that the “unending variety of style and material affords unlimited choice, and places the price within the reach of all.”
In addition to signs, Mr. Steere provided his clientele—painters, draughtsmen, designers, etc.—with skill-enhancing books on Carriage Painting, Glass Embossing, Gilding, Graining and Marbling, and Scroll work. And materials, too: camel hair pencils, frosting, luminous paint, pearl and smalts. Ahhh, those were the pre-neo-plastic letter days.
Do you design your own typefaces? Have you created stunning type-centric design work? Have you produced a gorgeous handlettered project? If so, we want to see your work. All too often, typeface designs, typographic designs and handlettering get overlooked in competitions—which is why Print developed a competition that gives the artforms their full due and recognizes the best designers in each category. Enter Print’s Typography & Lettering Awards today.
About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →