Using Typography to Create a Nostalgic Father’s Day Card

We might call it minimalistic or retro, but in the 1950s, a lot of printing looked like this.

Today I am going to bring you into my creative process that uses period typography to capture a bygone era. I will be printing a nostalgic 1950’s Father’s Day card…a real retro-looking piece that conjures up The Lone Ranger, Ozzie and Harriet and dads who liked fly fishing.

I will be referring to an incredibly helpful website called, using a magnesium die or cut, incorporating several vintage fonts from The Norlu Press collection, and printing on some handsome Basis Folded A1 Olive Invitations from

For the primary image in my card, I am going to use a nice clean magnesium die of a man fly fishing. To me, he truly embodies the dad of the 1950s who worked hard at a job but pursued opportunities to escape with an equal commitment.

Magnesium cut of the quintessential 1950s dad enjoying a day of fishing.

I have proofed the fishing dad cut and am ready to consult my favorite typography website for ideas about fonts to complement the image and give me the look and feel I have in mind. Since I am using traditional metal types and not a plate from a vector, also will help to narrow down the options to fonts I have in my collection.

A search for “1950s” produced a number of results, including this Yodeling Slim Clark album cover, which features an image of a cowboy that might be my fishing dad’s brother and several fonts, including Brush Script, which I have in several sizes at The Norlu Press.

Based on my access to Brush Script, I am choosing Yodeling Slim as my design guide. The larger font on his album cover is Neuland, and while I do not own any of it, I have Futura Bold in several sizes and it will suffice as a stand-in for the slightly more decorative Neuland. I have an idea of the copy (words) for the card and will set them on a 23 pica measure to make the best use of the A1 folded card’s width.

Types set in composing stick. Note that I incorporated the use of a smaller “ON” in the line at the top, just as “AND” appears in the Yodeling Slim Clark album cover.

After proofing the types I set, I am going to cut out the three blocks and array them on an A1 card, along with the proofed image of the fishing dad.

The analog method of desktop publishing: creating the rough design with cut-up proofs and paste.

With the rough design captured on paper, it is time to create a form that will be used to print it.

Fold the rough design perpindicular to the text and then align it to your types. By adding or taking away linespacing, you can adjust the types in your form to match the positioning of your design.

Our re-purposed fishing dad magnesium cut is attractive, but for some reason, it is not mounted on the center of the block. Perhaps its original owner used it in combination with a second color cut that has long since been separated. In order to incorporate the cut into my form, I will center the fisherman by disproportionately adding spacing material to each side of the cut, until it is centered visually in the form.

Adding spaces to the cut in order center it in the form. Note in the photo on the right that there is approximately twice as much space to the left of the fisherman than to the right.

With the form locked up and some great Basis invitations ready to go, it is time to print. I really like the way these 80# cover weight cards take ink and with twenty-four different colors and any variation of size you could want, makes it easy to make a Father’s Day card or any other printed piece look terrific.

Thanks for reading about the creative process I use at The Norlu Press. Where do you go for inspiration? Do you prefer any particular eras of printing to others? Are you a member of the Yodeling Slim Clark Fan Club? I would be really interested in knowing, so please leave a comment and keep following all of the creative bloggers on

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