• Steven Heller

Getting a Swell Letterhead

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

Last call! Print’s Regional Design Annual 2015: Enter Today! The 2015 Regional Design Annual is still openbut only until May 15. Don’t miss your chance to have your work reviewed by the best minds in design today and to be spotlighted in our most popular issue of the year—the industry’s most prestigious and well-respected annual.

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