I love a lot of things about Chicago, but the number one thing is that it works. It's the city that brought the world the eight-hour day, the city that rebuilt itself from ashes. It's a city of immigrants and of the great migration; a city of neighborhoods forged by working class hands. And it's the city that brought the world the hardest-working typeface, Cooper Black.
Created in Chicago in 1922, Cooper Black is the most Chicago of typefaces: hard working, big-shouldered, friendly, and everlasting. It's a typeface that feels as contemporary and relevant today as it did 100 years ago when it was first released.
I've loved Cooper Black since long before I knew what it was. Big and bold and round, it has more personality in its lowercase O than most fonts have in their whole lineup. You have seen it everywhere in every possible context: on the Beach Boys Pet Sounds and on Biz Markie's BIZ hat; on the sketchy liquor store at that one strip mall down the block and on the homemade PTA flyer the kid brought home. It is hard to make it through a day almost anywhere without running into Cooper Black (hell, you're seeing it right now on this very website).
There are far more complete histories and deep dives into the typeface than I'm writing now, but I think one of the things that I love about it most is that it is a typeface that was built to work, originally marketed as a bold type for newspaper advertising, and that it is still working all these years later. Cooper Black, like Chicago, works. Hard.
Mostly though Cooper Black just makes me happy.
2023 was a hard year and 2024 is shaping up to be just as unrelenting and sometimes it's OK to just have a little thing that makes you happy and that's why I made a new patch for myself and maybe also for you if you would like one. It just says Cooper Black, set in black in Cooper Black, on a light grey background reminiscent of old newspaper. It's eight bucks from my web store and ships free with a stamp.
All the patches I make are now $8, and a pack of all three (Trying, Marginally Employed, and Cooper Black) is available for $20.
Published January 08, 2024.
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