Behind The Typeface Presents: Cooper Black.
July 26, 2002 2:54 AM   Subscribe

Behind The Typeface Presents: Cooper Black. The gripping saga of one typeface's trials and tribulations, following its path from the dizzying heights of stardom to the brink of self-destruction and back again. (Flash 5, approx. 3MB.)
posted by youhas (31 comments total)
That was fantastic. Never liked Cooper Black much (or any face with rounded serifs, just not my taste) but I could watch that over again. In fact I think I will. Excellent link.
posted by jackiemcghee at 3:25 AM on July 26, 2002

that was pretty neat. some that aren't put off by the flash might be put off by the size; i have no real way of knowing, but fwiw, it didn't feel like 3mb.
posted by juv3nal at 3:42 AM on July 26, 2002

Great parody from a very good writer! Congrats Chesh!
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:04 AM on July 26, 2002

That was great! I'll put it on the shelf next to my copy of The Scourge of Arial.

Anyone else have any good Typography history / theory links?
posted by Stuart_R at 6:08 AM on July 26, 2002

Well worth the d/ excellent use of flash.

I'm praying that DIN, a typeface I have loved & used since 1984, doesn't go the same way as Cooper did thru over (& bad) use.

I blame that Jason Kottke fellow ;-)

Stuart_R: Is there anything similar entitled 'The Evil that is Comic Sans'?
posted by i_cola at 6:21 AM on July 26, 2002

It's "groovy" baby!

- A note from Vincent Connare, Comic Sans' designer.
posted by Stuart_R at 6:26 AM on July 26, 2002

Stuart_R: If you haven't visited already, go dig through the Typographica archives. Also,
posted by Su at 6:43 AM on July 26, 2002

The Overused Font Hall of Fame, which seems smaller than it used to be, and a Suck Column. Yet the road away from Helvetica is paved with good intentions....

Cooper rules. I have a Cooper-based version of my weblog logo that I never used (I went with Rockwell instead). I'd been thinking Oz Black might be a good alternative.

FWIW, I'd love to see more of these "Behind the Typeface" episodes. I'm sure they're a lot of work, though.
posted by dhartung at 6:57 AM on July 26, 2002

Garamond! Gill Sans! Helvetica! Futura! I must know their stories!!!
posted by TacoConsumer at 7:22 AM on July 26, 2002

Stuart_R: Now I hate it even more... ;-)
posted by i_cola at 7:41 AM on July 26, 2002

I believe that there used to be an San Francisco social organization that was known as "Art Directors United Against Helvetica Bold Condensed." They used to have a bowling tournament.

And I always wanted to start a funk band made up entirely of art directors, which would be known as the "Zapf Chancery All-Caps." This has not yet come to pass.
posted by chino at 8:26 AM on July 26, 2002

I loved this, and he fit it to the standard Behind the Music format - initial stardom, derailment, rejuvenation.

I used to really hate Cooper Black with a passion, but now that I find it kind of comforting. But I'll always be a Futura man.
posted by SiW at 8:34 AM on July 26, 2002

Nothing screams bad design to me more than the use of Comic Sans. Brush Script runs a close second (unless it's for a diner menu). My heart belongs to Adobe Garamond.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:00 AM on July 26, 2002

Anyone else have any good Typography history / theory links?

Counterspace is an excellent Flash resource.

I also like DIN, and I Gill Sans used to be my favorite, but now I'm all about Frutiger.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:05 AM on July 26, 2002

I'm in love with Korinna.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 AM on July 26, 2002

kirkaracha: I hope you pronounce it 'FRUH-TIGGER' and not 'FROO-TIGGER' like far too many people seem to...and funnily enough, I've just finished flushing Frutiger out of all of my mags in favour of DIN

FFF: Aaaaargh! Ed Benguiat typefaces! The horror!

More FPPs about typography! Yay!

Damn, the screech key on my Mac just broke thru overuse...
posted by i_cola at 10:00 AM on July 26, 2002

I love typography, and I enjoyed that more than any VH1 Behind the Music I've ever seen.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:24 AM on July 26, 2002

That art director's group was against Futura Extra Bold Condensed, which most people would recognize as the Absolut font.
posted by O9scar at 10:30 AM on July 26, 2002

Thanks, O9scar. Funny how typefaces can actually give one shudders of disgust.
posted by chino at 11:11 AM on July 26, 2002

Here's a random question for anybody knowledge about typography. I'd like to write a perl script that looks at the longest line in a file and determines what font size for a given font will allow an entire line of text to fit on one line of the page.

I've screwed around a bit and have empirically determined this by spamming the laser printer, but there's got to be a better way of doing this with PostScript fonts.
posted by substrate at 11:29 AM on July 26, 2002

I'm not an expert, but I think that if the only information the perl script had was the number of characters in a line it would only work with monotype fonts.
posted by Stuart_R at 11:34 AM on July 26, 2002

pfft, you can keep your fancy pantsy typefaces... i'm keepin' it real with verdana and georgia.
posted by lotsofno at 11:41 AM on July 26, 2002

Well, it'd also have access to the text of the longest line (which might not really be the longest one, but to a first approximation would be close enough).

More generally, how would I determine how much space an "w" or an "i" would take in a given font?
posted by substrate at 12:28 PM on July 26, 2002

Sorry, cola, but I find Korinna eminently readable, and exceedingly versatile.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:38 PM on July 26, 2002

i've been hooked on Century Gothic lately....just want to use it on everything.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:28 PM on July 26, 2002

I'm a big fan of this elegant font called Berolina.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:09 PM on July 26, 2002

how would I determine how much space an "w" or an "i" would take in a given font?

You look inside the font, of course. To do this you have to have a pretty decent amount of knowledge of the font file format. It's easier to let the OS do it; GUI-based operating systems have a library routine you can call to find out how wide a line of text is in pixels using a given font.
posted by kindall at 2:44 PM on July 26, 2002

You'll need to pull the font metrics. If you are on a Mac then you are in luck. Apple has a large collection of free font tools on their site that type designers have been using for years. You might also check with Letterror, they have some of the best font tool around, including RoboFog - a professional type design tool that is fully python scriptable.
posted by DragonBoy at 3:21 PM on July 26, 2002

Emigre's Base Nine is absolutely beautiful, and so is their Mrs. Eaves. I love Hoefler's "Requiem," as well. :)
posted by metrocake at 8:17 PM on July 26, 2002

DragonBoy, thanks much. I'm not on a Mac (yet... getting a G4 of some sort when I'm back from vacation) but I think i can figure out how to pull things out now.
posted by substrate at 8:46 PM on July 26, 2002

Cooper Tires uses Cooper Black for their typeface. What a great inside joke.
posted by basilwhite at 12:26 PM on July 30, 2002

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