Few fonts reach cult status. Despite its ubiquity—and perhaps because of its lack of subtlety—after a hundred years Cooper continues to draw the faithful. The boisterous high/low groove of Oswald Cooper’s 1919 font has not only come to define an entire typographic genre, but it recently found pop-viscosity in the Vox documentary Why This Font is Everywhere (scroll down to watch).
Cooper Nouveau is Dave West’s imaginative contribution to the Cooper oeuvre that was recently digitized by House Industries. Drawn in the mid-1960s for Photo-Lettering, Nouveau refreshes Oswald Cooper’s original italic with an energetic pitch, simplified contours, and a plump friendly figure. Uniform strokes and generous curves push the font’s playful personality and springy silhouette even further. A selection of swashed characters and louche ligatures offer a wide-variety of options for lively logos and strong captions.
While Cooper Nouveau looks laid-back and easy-going, it’s more than capable of throwing around it’s own typographic weight. Put it to work where relaxed needs to project confident. Set large, Nouveau turns on the electro-eye-magnet for posters, packaging, and advertisements. Its youthful energy maximizes kid themes, inflates craft appeal, and gives bounce to fashion, literature and music. Set alongside a master like Benguiat (Buffalo), or Chalet, Cooper Nouveau demonstrates how type can communicate fluently on paper and screens with an inherent ability to speak the language of style in many tongues.
But like any cult icon: beware. Cooper has a way of setting the needle, and Nouveau just may become your go-to design fix.