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House & Alexander Girard

Our Alexander Girard odyssey started in 1999 when Andy first chatted with Eames Demetrios about creating an eponymous font collection based on the work of his grandparents. For any number of reasons, the time wasn’t right and we eventually ended up talking with Richard Neutra’s son about doing a typeface family that loosely referenced the geometric sans serif lettering his father specified on his famous residential and commercial structures. One thing we found was that we could not dig through the mine of mid-century design without hitting a Girard seam. When we signed the deal with the Girard estate in 2004, we thought the collection would be as simple as drawing simple slab serif fonts, interpreting the lettering from a photo of a Braniff aircraft and pulling an old Photo-Lettering film with an alphabet that matched a Girard lettering style.

Love is never simple. Three years into the project found us digging through archives in two continents, touring houses and driving through the high desert to find just one more piece of inspiration. Our infatuation told us that we could never faithfully represent our interpretation of Alexander Girard’s vision with typefaces alone, so we diversified further down the rocky road of consumer products with a nativity, memory game, alphabet blocks, puzzle and dolls made from the same Mexican cotton that intrigued Girard and his T & O customers 60 years ago.

The trouble is that batches of replenishable locally-grown basswood do not always come in uniform sizes and the Italian company that makes the best molding cutter does not stock spare parts. On the technical side, OpenType features don’t always work the way they are supposed to and, because the machine that makes the nativities is busted, there is always time to draw one more swash character.

That’s all done now, as much as a Hindu temple can be done. We hope you enjoy our new Alexander Girard Collection of fonts, objects and tees.

Check out the Girard microsite: girard.houseind.com, which includes a film by our friend Erich Weiss.

Posted by on February 3, 2009