The Hidden Seductiveness of Cooper Black

Cooper POP Poster macro shot

A macro shot of my Cooper Black pop art inspired poster.

Cooper black – it is everywhere. It is popular. We know it for it’s big curves and it’s bouncy playfulness that cannot be taken seriously. It is a typeface that many mom and pop small businesses use to try to express a fun, welcoming feeling.

In a project, I was asked to take Cooper Black, which everyone knew I loathed at the time, and make the glyphs within the tyepface more serious and striking graphic elements in a series of posters. I will not deny that at first I had my doubts, but I soon learned there was beauty in this funny typeface.

Cooper comparison poster

A timed peace featuring Cooper black and Century.

The typeface Cooper, incase you do not know, was designed by famous type designer Ozwald Cooper. Around 1919, Cooper was approached with the challenge of designing a typeface that was easy for people to read. In particular, he was to design a typeface that would help those with poor vision. At the time, Chicago, like many large cities, had a mass of type-based advertising. It was everywhere and everyone was clamoring to have their message seen. Cooper produced a typeface that not only delivered a message successfully to the straining eyes of Chicago, but stylistically it stood out. Boldly. Today, Cooper Black, the iconic weight of the typeface, see’s a lot of use. However, for years following it’s release, Ozwald Cooper developed many weights and variations of the typeface including a beautiful variation inspired by Bodoni, known as Cooper Modern.

WAR Poster

A poster made entirely of typographic elements.

To the right is another exploration with Cooper black I undertook during the project. This poster, “WAR: Magisterial | Fuselage” was a timed piece where I had to race against the close and make a composition entirely of glyphs from Cooper Black. I used Cooper black throughout the entirety of the piece. Okay, except on one element. (Can you find it?)

Below is the cover to the book of posters. This was the piece where I found that the curves of Cooper black could be sexy, even seductive. This was an amazing project and I hope to see more use of this typeface in a seductive, serious way. This is a gem many graphic and type designers tend to over look. Trust me folks, Bodoni, Helvetica, and Futura is not all where it’s at. Scroll down to see more pieces of my work produced during this project.

Please share your thoughts and comments as well.

Cooper Black cover page

Cooper Black cover page

The Birth of Cooper Black

The Birth of Cooper Black painting (D.M. Anderson.)

Cooper Black pop art poster.

Complete copy of the Cooper black pop art poster shown above.

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2 thoughts on “The Hidden Seductiveness of Cooper Black

    • Yes, Cooper is quite an interesting typeface. Do you have a link to your web project? If it is not done, please send me a link to it or something once it is done. I would love to see what you come up with.

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