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Long before people have been sending messages to one another. Before paper was invented, people used different materials for their letters, they used leather, clay, plant leaves and papyrus.
As time went by and paper was discovered, people began creating their letters in a more formal way. It was not until the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century that letterheads that we know today came to life.
The existence of printing presses and the advent of Industrial design – which could’ve been a precursor to the minimalist movement of the 1960s – caused the ubiquity of letterheads among prominent people and businesses during that time. It may have also caused the departure from the bourgeois and intricate style of Art Nouveau and the Victorian style of design.
The departure from Victorian style and Art Nouveau led to a change of heart in design. With the guiding philosophy of Industrial design – functionality over form – people began adopting simpler designs that was easier to produce and cheaper.
It was during the 20th century that we saw the bloom and importance of the letterhead. It allowed people and, especially, companies to create an identity for for their business. It gave way to different ideas and application of advertisements and new art movements that came after the 19th century.
Here are some sample designs divided into three groups – the early and latter part of the 20th, and the 21st century.
Early Part of the 20th Century
During the advent of the 20th century, people and businesses used varying designs on their letterheads. With most prominent people using simple and minimalist designs, and businesses used differeng images that can be attributed to their industry.
Latter part of the 20th Century
We saw the rise of radio and television during the latter part of the 20th century. With the rising advertising industry, the need for a corporate identity becomes more apparent. During this period we saw different changes and the rise of rebellious youth, which could’ve influenced the different design styles that were used during this period.
The 21st Century
The current designs of letterheads has evolved – from the functional minimalist to the radical post-modern style of design. Designers today have a knack for combining different influences derived from past art movements; from Minimalism to conceptual art to post-modern styles of design.
Letterheads has become played a pivotal role for a lot of people – from personalities to businesses – it has allowed people to create an identity for other people to know who they are, and what they do. It has provided an avenue for businesses to explore and reach out to the people. More Vintage Postcards Can be found on Letterheady.