Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Brought to you by the letter...

Today's letter is brought to you by the letter: Q
Cooper Black, uppercase, Q

Cooper Black may just be the cutest type face there is. It's bold and dark, but so curvy and soft. What's great about the Cooper Black uppercase Q is how, when taken out of context, it's such an interesting shape on its own. It looks like a little baby squid or something. It's stem (?) looks like a wave or some squishy tail. The angle of the bowl and the stem give the shape movement. Although it's dark and bold it's not static. Can't you just imagine a hundred of them floating against a blue background?

The only drawback to being so cute, in my opinion, is being used incorrectly. Cooper Black can easily feel bubbly and childish, too much so to be any good on posters or company collateral or anything. But when I started researching Cooper Black and saw that it was used on the Tootsie Roll packaging and for Garfield books, it clicked. An unusual use of Cooper Black was for Pet Sounds album cover by The Beach Boys. This is one example that shows Cooper Black's versatility. The type face on the cover looks friendly but not cute.

Courtesy of wikipedia.com:

Design Foundry: Barnhart Brothers & Spindler
Oswald Bruce Cooper
Date: 1921
Classification: old style serif typeface

"Old style or humanist typefaces date back to 1465, and are characterized by a diagonal stress (the thinnest parts of letters are at an angle rather than at the top and bottom), subtle differences between thick and thin lines (low line contrast), and excellent readability. Old style typefaces are reminiscent of the humanist calligraphy from which their forms were derived."

Courtesy of Linotype.com:
"The flowing outer contours create forms that are both strong and soft, making Cooper Black an extremely flexible font."


Sam Ricks said...

Normally I ignore Cooper Black. No, avoid it like the plague is more accurate. But you've made me reconsider. Perhaps some typeface repentance is in order on my part. :)

h. van de mark said...

i was right there with you sam. but then, i was at a lecture where michael beirut was speaking. and he had used cooper black on some project, and he pointed out how damn cute the lowercase 'g' is, that i felt like i needed to cooper black a second change. while, i'm still wary of it, and basically never ever use it, i'm not ready to throw it in the discard pile yet.