The Joy of Text

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I recently paid a visit to the National Print Museum. It’s located in the Old Garrison Chapel of Beggars Bush Barracks in Dublin. It is a working museum and the day I was there they were doing demonstrations using the big old machines that used to churn out our newpapers, books and posters.


From the hand presses known as Letterpress to the inventions and developments of the early 19th century, here you can see examples of lithography machines, rotary presses to the much quicker and efficient monotypes and linotypes.


Individual letters were used to write words.


Ink and rollers helped produce the finished text.


Now computer technology and digital printing has taken over. The old presses are silent.

All of this got me thinking about how, not just times and techologies have changed but how this fact now influences the way we view print and its endless possibilities. Now we have begun to use print in interiors as a design feature.

I’m not usually big on the latest trends. Mostly because as soon as they here they are gone! Whilst that works with clothing, it’s not so easy to move on to the next fashion in interiors. It usually costs too much and means a complete overhaul. But the trend for using text in our interiors is one I have indulged in. This comes in many types of ways. (pun intended) The first is WALL STICKERS. These come in just about every size, shape and theme possible. They can even be personalised to your family if you wish. Forget stencils, these look as if they have been skillfully painted onto your wall. There are lots of different uses from childrens bedrooms to halls and living rooms. So, with dozens of companies and hundreds of choices of choices available, here are a few of my favourites…

TG bay window

When I put up this “love laugh live” sticker in my house, the saying was not in every shop and magazine in the country. However, despite its complete overuse, it still makes me smile when I enter my kitchen. It was relatively inexpensive for the impact it provides and can be very easily removed when and if I change my mind. I bought this from a company called Nutmeg through the Not on the High Street website. They provided a fast turn around service for me and their stickers are easy to apply, just follow the simple instructions included with the purchase. They can be applied to any clean, smooth surface – walls, doors, mirrors or furniture and are available in a range of colours to compliment any room in your house with a full colour chart available.

If you are thinking of typographic stickers in your home you need to measure your available wall space carefully and maybe even use masking tape to mark out the size on the wall to ensure that the dimensions are good for you. No use in purchasing something that is too big and doesn’t fit or too small and will have no impact. This particular one can be split so you can arrange wording on different lines or on top of each other if required.


Here I have used more text stickers. I love the charcoal grey of the “relax” and “dream” texts which contrasts with the pink of “Love”. I also love the contrasting type faces and importance given to LOVE in capitals!  This came from Brume and as they say on their website “Apply these words to any room and promote good feelings!” They can be sold separately in a choice of colours or as a complete set of 3 as seen here.

 world map 1

The use of scale and text is illustrated well in this map of the world (if you missed this in my previous blog on maps, the link is below.) Here I chose white text and painted the wall a dark shade in contrast. This map measures 175cm x 108cm from Sunny Side Up, through the Not on the High Street website, details below.

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If you want to completely personalise your walls then get creative with words and letters, scrabble style. I got these from the Bright Blue Pig in the past again via Not on the High Street. They provided a speedy service and the letters were really well packaged and easy to put up.

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Plan and design your word layout taking into consideration the three sizes available: Each letter is supplied separately, simply list the letters, numbers and symbols you want. Here I have used single letters to denote which cupboard belongs to which person but obviously these can be look great with interlocking letters as on a scrabble board. See link to the website below for more information.

One last item: STAIRS!

Do you have a stairs with no carpet? Fancy making a design feature out of it? Another trend for typographic stickers that I have spotted are a variety of chic and stylish stair stickers.


image from Oakdene Designs

These particular ones are available from Oakdene Designs again via Not on the High Street.. They are also available in English but I think the French ones add a bit of sophistication, as well as helping kids learn their numbers in French. These stickers are available in three different fonts and ten different colours.

If numbers are not your thing then perhaps these zig zags or chevron pattern are more to your style?


image from Pot and Kettle

They are available from Pot and Kettle via the Etsy website and come in sets of 3. Obviously you need to make sure to measure your stairs carefully to ensure that the available sizes fit your needs.

All of the stickers described above have slightly differing instructions for each type. Some are on sheets of paper, some on a roll. You do need to follow the specific instructions carefully and use the “squeegee” thingy provided. (I take absolutely no responsibility for any marriage break-ups or guidance counselling required after taking on this job!)

So there you have it: a modern, inventive way of looking at text and bringing it into our homes using digital technology. If you feel like stepping back in time, a visit to the National Print Museum in Dublin offers the opportunity to appreciate the orginal craft of letterpress printing. I highly recommend a visit.

Want further info?

print museum

3 thoughts on “The Joy of Text

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