There’s a typeface that has made a resurgence in the past couple of years. It’s appeared on hip-hop album covers, food packaging, and advertising. Perhaps you know it from the Garfield comics, Tootsie Roll logo, or the Pet Sounds album cover by the Beach Boys. It’s called Cooper Black, and its popularity and ubiquity have never waned in the 100 years since it was first designed.
Cooper Black is probably most strongly associated with the advertising of the mid-1960s and 1970s, but it was actually first released by a Chicago designer named Oswald Cooper around 1920. Originally intended to fit the needs of advertisers in newspapers and magazines, Cooper Black became one of the most popular typefaces of the 1920s. Its versatility and adaptability to changing technology, though, is what made it relevant for the latter half of the 20th century.
In the video above, designers Steven Heller and Bethany Heck tell the story of Cooper Black and deconstruct all the reasons it’s been pop culture’s favorite font for so long.
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