Andy and Jeremy came up with the idea for the Flyer Fonts project as a way to get House money behind the pressing of a “greatest hits” hardcore comp. Jer was also itching to get back to his Bad Neighborhood roots and credit some of the sources for our earlier successes with distressed type. Over the previous years, we had become more concerned with crediting the sources of our inspiration, and the Flyer Fonts project went straight to the heart.
Darren Walters and Tim Owen from Jade Tree Records had gathered an impressive collection of hard core show flyers and let us borrow them for a few months. Jeremy finally had an opportunity to collaborate with dozens of musicians and labels he idolized in his youth. The fonts themselves were pretty much a no-brainer. In fact, there were so many to choose from that the collection quickly got out of hand; at the time of its release Flyer Fonts was House’s largest collection of theme-oriented display faces. Types based on the band logos for Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, Cro-Mags and Suicidal Tendencies were essential, while more generic fonts like All Ages, Free Show and Hardcore added extra flavor to the set. The 18 fonts offered a compact yet fair representation of the different typographic fashions associated with the various musical genres grouped under the punk/hardcore label, from the collegiate-style straight-edge slab serif to the ever-popular “ransom note” aesthetic. The overall look of the collection mimicked the poor reproduction quality and novice hand-lettering that gave the hand bills their DIY charm. In addition, all the promotional materials, including ads and CD artwork, were pasted up by hand; it was important not to overlook the production techniques that gave the original flyers their distinctive look. The decidedly unprofessional and inherent “anti-design” of the entire set made the typefaces all the more marketable to an industry that had yet to trumpet the return of the Swiss style as the succeeding taste du jour (see Chalet). More importantly, the Flyer Fonts collection revealed to us the irony of the punk rock work ethic and reminded us that our youthful years were not spent in vain.