What do Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali and Albert Einstein have in common? In addition to being recognized universally as three of the most influential people of all time, they all used personal letterheads.
Individuals and companies in all industries make it a point to have their own unique letterhead, and for good reason. Letterheads are effective branding and marketing tools. In addition to being used for official letters and business transactions, they carry a company’s corporate identity and can further boost its reputation. Letterheads helped even icons like Elvis, Ali and Einstein to reach out to both business partners and supporters. Sending a letterhead as opposed to an ordinary piece of paper can really make a huge difference.
We’ve compiled 40 vintage personal letterheads that belong to some amazing people we’re sure you know or at least have heard about. Kudos to Shaun Usher and the entire Letterheady team, as well as the other sources cited for digging up these letterhead treasures. Meanwhile, if you’re planning to make your own letterhead, have them printed by a trusted company to be assured of clear and long lasting prints. Who knows, 50 years from now, your personal letterhead might be included in a list like this one.
John F. Kennedy, 1952
JFK’s brand is pure Americana.
Frank Sinatra, 1967
Frank Sinatra’s personal letterhead was classy and understated.
Les Paul, 1951
Arguably Les Paul’s letterhead could have been better if it featured his famous signature.
Princess Diana, 1997
Princess Diana’s personal brand shines through in this letterhead.
Marilyn Monroe, 1958
This embossed letterhead is more understated than is typical of the era.
Johnny Cash, c.1965
The Man in Black was country through and through.
Ray Charles, 1990
It’s not clear if Ray Charles himself decided on the sheet music motif, but it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate letterhead design.
Chuck Jones, 1986
Chuck Jones’s impeccable sense of timing and dynamics shows off even on a single sheet of paper.
Ozzy Osbourne, 2011
This mildly amusing example from Ozzy is oddly appropriate.
Hughes Entertainment (John Hughes), c.1990
The iconic director’s personalized letterhead is pure Hollywood.
Elizabeth Taylor, 1985
The thin font shows off the late Liz Taylor’s elegance and style.
David Bowie, 1974
This kind of typeface oozes pure glam.
Bob Kane’s custom letterhead evokes a less gritty era for comics than most of us remember.
Charles Schulz, 1966
Many people may be coping Warhol’s style today, but at the time, there was nothing quite like it.
Nikola Tesla, 1911
Of course, it had a doomsday machine on it.
Richard Simmons, 2009
This example is as colorful as the man behind it.
Muhammad Ali, 1983
A simple letterhead for a complex man.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1989
Arnie knew his name was all that was needed to make this letterhead stand out.
Abraham Lincoln, 1860
These types of prints would have been popular in the 1860’s.
Bill Cosby, 1991
Even TV shows need letterheads.
Ray Bradbury, c.1998
Ray Bradbury’s nifty letterhead recalls imagery from his classic works.
Enzo Ferrari, 1974
That logo is all Enzo Ferrari needed.
Pat Sullivan, c.1918
This letterhead would have been mind-blowing for that era.
Edward VIII, 1936
If you ever have a title that long, a letterhead would be a better place for it than a business card.
Calvin Klein, 1979
This example says ‘luxury’.
J. D. Salinger, 1989
A somewhat unintuitive design by the literary icon.
Adolf Hitler, 1934-1945
The guy knew his brand.
Rocky Marciano, 1970
When your face is your brand, you might want a letterhead like this.
Robert Ripley, 1932
Robert Ripley didn’t want to leave any marketing possibility to chance.
Theodor Seuss Geisel
Oh, the letterheads you’ll make.
Harry Houdini, 1913
Portrait letterheads aren’t generally popular now, but they were the rage back then.
Sigmund Freud, 1900
A straightforward letterhead from Dr. Freud.
Charlie Chaplin, 1967
A rather formal example from a comedic icon.
A tastefully flamboyant letterhead, fit for The King.
Bill Watterson, late-1980s
Bill Watterson’s letterhead shows off his two most beloved characters in a typical scene.
Albert Einstein, 1932
Some geniuses don’t have time for fancy letterheads.
Frank Zappa, 1986
Frank Zappa’s letterhead branding is a post-modern mystery. Much like his music.
J. K. Rowling, 2009
This magical example is surely the favorite of many of our readers.
Dan Brown, 2009
Straightforward. No obvious plot twists here.