News

Apr 7, 2020

The Online Archive Is Now Open to All

With nearly 1,500 objects and 9,000 hi-fi images, Letterform Archive offers unprecedented virtual access to our collection.

Online Archive

At a time when good news is in short supply and so many resources have gone dark, we intend to light a creative spark. After years of development and months of feedback and support from our members, we’re opening up the Online Archive to everyone. This project is a labor of love from everyone on our staff, and many generous volunteers, and we hope it provides a source of beautiful distraction and inspiration to all who love letters.

Get into our hi-fi images. Zoom with a click or a pinch to see the details of this collaged comp by Paul Rand.

Radical accessibility is central to the Archive’s mission. It’s with that spirit that we are digitally capturing as much of our collection as possible. This first offering represents nearly 1,500 highlights of the over 60,000 objects housed at the Archive, but the range of items, all captured with our high-fidelity imaging, offer a sense of what it’s like to visit the Archive in person.

We designed the site and structured the data specifically with design artifacts and graphic designers in mind. After you’ve browsed the highlights from the homepage, we encourage you to use the search filters: click on each category to explore disciplines like lettering, and formats like type specimens, or combine filters like decades and countries to narrow your view to a specific time and place.

Unlike in many web galleries, our thumbnails are not displayed in a grid of equal squares. Uncropped images are sized proportionally using measurement data from the catalog — not to show absolute scale, but to best represent the actual objects and their relationship to each other. Shown: Jacob Jongert for Van Nelle’s.
Want maximum inspiration with minimal effort? Try typing an asterisk in the search field. (Currently best viewed in Chrome.)

You can learn more about the project and its development in these posts:

There is much more news to come. We’re adding new features and new collections regularly. (The Online Archive now contains, for example, every issue of Emigre magazine!) And we’re working on special features just for Letterform Archive members. In the meantime, get on there, click around, and let the good times scroll.

Launch the Online Archive

Online Archive Colophon