In reality the other members of the original Cooper family comprise a wonderfully beautiful old-style font that graces the pages for those who dare to use it. Cooper was designed by Oswald Cooper for Bernhart Brothers & Spindler in the 1920s.
Oswald Bruce Cooper studied at Chicago's Frank Holme School of Illustration*, first as a correspondence student, then in person, with an interest in illustration. Feeling that this was not his forte, he pursued design, and after taking a lettering class from Frederic Goudy*, pursued a career in type and design. In time he became Director of the Correspondence School of Typography for the Holme School. When the school closed due to financial difficulties, Cooper took it on himself to provide correspondence education to prepaid students. (According to Wikipedia)
Cooper's old style appeal works with content that is intended to be warm and friendly. I would not use it for technology or hard, mechanical style content but it's most appropriate for organic information -- anything from healthcare to children's books.
I've seen it used in some beautiful applications like upper-crust restaurants, wineries, and even in romantic books and book covers. The passage above is set in URW Cooper Old Style Light.
For some super newspaper ad work, or in flyers, handbills and signage where you really have to punch out there, use Cooper Black. Put a 5% to 15% squeeze on and it becomes very modern looking while still maintaining a fairly good character count. While it may be a bit 'old fashioned' looking, and many designers will frown, Cooper Black has a black bite that pokes right off the page and into your reader's eye!
Amazingly enough, Cooper's anonymous hand-lettering for Packard ads* formed the basis of the Packard font prepared at the direction of Morris Fuller Benton* of American Type Founders. (There's a freeware font called Packard Antique, but we don't think it looks like the real font. You can see for yourself, download it here.)
We previously told you about Keith Tam's web site and outstanding collection of essays and samples -- here's one on the Cooper Family that is not to be missed. In this presentation, Tam writes:
"He [Cooper] has taken the classic letter forms and made them his own by the vigor of his personality. He makes them express whatever he wills - elegance, austerity, whimsical drollery, the still small whisper or lusty shout. He understands the anatomy of letters - their 'bones' as he calls them. No matter how free he may draw them, they always have structure and form in contrast to the usual spineless stuff that is termed 'hand' lettering."
The Real Thing
Don't be fooled by the Cooper that came on your computer. Or any of the misnamed, misfits you can download from the freebie sites. Get the real thing. Because it's so misunderstood by new designers and poo-poo'd by the snob design class, the Monotype Corporation offers the URW Cooper Old Style Volume for just $79.00USD! (Mac and Windows in OpenType - PostScript Flavor.) These days, you just can't get an entire .otf family for under a hundred bucks!
Thanks for reading...