Friday, January 3, 2014

Good Night, Cooper Black

Cooper Black is a font designed by Oswald Bruce Cooper in 1921 for the Barnhart Brothers & Spindler type foundry.

You are very familiar with it because you see it everywhere — or used to. It is characterized by big, bouncy, thick black curves. There are no straight lines; it looks inflated. See how the bases of the feet on this H dip slightly below the line — this makes it feel to your eye as if the letter is subject to gravity and has weight.

Because of its easily-readable, simplistic curves, Cooper Black suggests to us happiness; innocence; safety. It is the basis of the EasyGroup conglomerate’s corporate identity; white Cooper Black lettering on orange or vice-versa. The idea behind the entire brand is that anything you choose to do with any of its many branches is “easy.” Cooper Black is therefore the perfect face for it.

Better Homes and Gardens was clearly banking on this same idea rubbing off on its readers during the 1980s — especially when it came to cookbooks dedicated to children’s food.

Only they didn’t actually use Cooper Black; they used a knock-off. They did use it throughout the books, though, in different weights. This recipe for Good-Night Cocoa gives you three weights and an italic.

What it doesn’t give you is a good cup of cocoa.

Fast-Fixin' Kids' Recipes, Better Homes and Gardens, 1988
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