Although Chris Cooper is best known for his devilishly clever rock poster art, popular tattoo flash and trademark “smoking devil,” our one-track type minds looked straight past the big red boobies and locked onto his beautifully-rendered letter forms. Coop has an uncanny ability to draw lettering unencumbered by the baggage of any formal training, which was a great starting place for a collection of display typefaces. He had a lukewarm response to our inquiry about doing a font set: “When the fellas at House Industries contacted me about creating a family of computer fonts based on my lettering, I figured it would be a vanity project, strictly small potatoes. I wasn’t even using a computer at the time!”
As the eight fonts permeated their way into the design and advertising trade, a stroll through any supermarket showed that the Typography of Coop had become the display font favorite. Were we the new merchants of evil or did the designers, focus groups and advertisers see Coop’s genius once the boobs, butts and horns were taken away? We suspect the latter, because special customized versions of Coop Black and Coop Light were used by Toys ’R Us and the McDonald’s “We Love To See You Smile” campaign.
Like sand after a day at the beach, those silly little letters have ended up in places that I would never have expected. Walking down the cereal aisle at the supermarket, seeing your own handwriting blinking back at you from every box, or leering from a TV commercial for McDonald’s, is a surreal experience straight out of a Phillip K. Dick novel. Between that, and the big fat royalty checks, I’ve been pleased as punch to be associated with House industries. Now, if they could just work on getting rid of those annoying Delaware accents.