singular object. Cooper Black Centenary 1922-2022.
Set of two Mecanorma templates of the emblematic Cooper Black. Includes 2 Cooper Black Standard templates, catalog number PF233. Conservation status: 5 out of 5. Designer: Oswald Bruce Cooper in 1922. Made in Mexico by Mecanorma. Circa: 1980.
100 years ago Cooper Black appeared and turned a word into a gesture with its appearance alone: the undeniable "poker face" of all typefaces. Cooper Black is a survivor; he survived World War II, the first step on the moon, the Cold War, hurricanes, Chinese massage parlors, cheap junk magazines, and store windows. Cooper Black is an "ultra-bold serif" typeface created for poster use. The typeface was drawn as an "extra bold" weight variant of O. B. Cooper's "Cooper Old Style" family. It quickly became the standard and was licensed by American Type Founders to be copied and imitated by many other printing system manufacturers such as "Goudy Heavy" and "Ludlow Black". Widespread use of Cooper Black in pop culture has increased worldwide since 1966, when the Beach Boys used it for their "Pet Sounds" album cover. He then appeared in Doors' L.A. Woman (1971) and David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust (1972) becoming an emblem of the graphic style of the late '60s and early '70s.
Mecanorma at the time had one of the largest font collections with more than 400 ranges of transferable Letter-Press alphabets. The Versailles France based company along with its British counterpart Letraset became the standard in the graphic industries and monopolized the market during the second half of the 20th century. "Perfect definition of contours and absolute opacity, essential for reproduction and photographic applications" they announced in their catalog No.12 in the mid-1980s, already being the time of the first series of Macintosh computers that would forever transform industries graphics.
From 1989 to 1994, Mecanorma worked with another company to create digital versions of their typefaces along with Monotype who licensed and digitized some of the typefaces. In 1995, Mecanorma withdrew from the professional graphics market and delved into other areas of design. In 2004, International TypeFounders (ITF) licensed the typefaces in digital format and released them as the "Mecanorm Collection". This helped preserve one of the best font libraries in history. In 2014, International TypeFounders entered into a permanent agreement with Mecanorma's legal successor, becoming the exclusive owners of the digital rights to the collection worldwide.