During the 20th century the importance of having letterheads to identify your business flourished. But not only identification was a main goal. With continuous industrialisation competition in the market grew advertising became necessary to stand out from the crowd. The design race was on and so it is today and will be in the future. Have a look at some great examples taken out of the history of stationery and follow the evolution of the letterhead.
But let’s start from the beginning. The history of written communication is a long one. In ancient times information were passed on by using a variety of materials such as stone, lead, copper, wood, cord and clay. Markings, knots and scratchings fulfilled the role of today’s letters. Later in history papyrus received a fundamental role.
After the invention of paper in China communication changed though not many people had the privilege to be able to read or write. Time went by and people all over the world improved concerning the formality of writing letters. Business correspondence arose and therewith personalisation of letters became more and more important. At first seals were used to mark letters by monarchs but with the invention of printing presses the branded letterheads became accessible to a wider audience.
Early 20th Century
A variety of designs were used that time. Often pictures or signets of people, products or production sites were displayed as well as imposing and decorative fonts. The industrial factor clearly stood out for businesses however famous people tend to use a minimalist design.
Late 20th Century
With the rise of radio and television designed letterheads were found more and more in the entertainment industry. Advertising improved as well and colours played a huge role. The rebellious youth gave distinction to design styles used during that period.
In today’s letterhead design a lot ideas from the past as well as new and innovative inputs are combined to create a unique and fitted appearance for each company, group or person. Standing out is still a plus but creativity and professionalism seam even more important.