By Dimithri Wijesinghe
Letterform Archive, a non-profit museum and special collections library in California, US, has made available their efforts to digitise thousands of years of typographical artifacts to the public.
Dedicated to collecting materials on the history of lettering, typography, printing, and graphic design, Letterform Archive had made plans to open its digital collection long before the Covid-19 outbreak, however their contribution could not have come at a better time.
The collection of documents spanning cultures and media, showcasing an incredible range of typefaces, will be particularly meaningful during these times when entertainment and the consuming of knowledge is limited to the digital sphere.
From the collection at the museum which boasts of more than 60,000 pieces, 1,500 have now been added to the digital collection, and amongst the wide array of works, tags, posters, mailing labels, advertisements, business cards, book covers, and letterheads coming from all corners of the world, the collection happens to include a booklet from Sri Lanka from 1965.
Amongst several other texts like a bound book from Russia in 1912, and a loose leaf from a Spanish Quran from 1150, there is a digitised version of a staple bound booklet from Sri Lanka – a specimen book by N.J. Cooray and Sons Ltd. It is available in full, seven images, and contains the samples provided by the company and is available in Sinhala, English, and Tamil type settings, complete with a preface, notice, and forward.
Photos: Letterform Archive website https://letterformarchive.org/