Customize Historical Photo-Lettering Online

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Photo-Lettering (or PLINC, as it was known to the people who counted on its products) was a typesetting house that supplied headlines to much of the advertising and graphic-design business. Even if you didn't begin to design until the computer age, you may have come across Photo-Lettering's brochures and catalogs at flea markets.

In 2003, House Industries bought Photo-Lettering's original films and other assets: more than 9,000 pieces! From those physical items comes a very digital product: Using a simple online interface, you choose an alphabet and color, type in the characters you want displayed in that alphabet, and click a button. Pay up ($7 each or as low as $2 each if you subscribe) and you can download the characters as a vector-based PDF.

Right now, the online service includes 40 alphabet styles, but House promises it will keep the historical alphabets coming.

House also notes that some alphabets have "advanced lettering features" you don't find in most conventional fonts; for instance, the Carlyle Eventide alphabet has "eight separate colorable layers that can be a huge timesaver compared to creating similar effects in a conventional drawing program".

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