House Industries Lecture!

House Industries Tokyo Lecture

In a rare and intimate one-night event, apparel/book/font designer, publisher, and manufacturer of design objects, Andy Cruz of House Industries will speak about his work and House’s most recent collaboration with the estate of Charles and Ray Eames.

As a partner in the cutting edge design phenomenon House Industries, Andy has helped steer the course of visual culture over the past fifteen years, creating design work with toes dipped liberally in fine art, Modern design, vernacular commercial art, and brand-oriented graphic design. See the past and the future collide and how the aesthetic of tomorrow will emerge!

Friday, September 17 2010
Doors Open: 19:00
Presentation / Q&A: 19:30 – 20:00
Dinner: 20:00

Oakwood Premier Tokyo Midtown
Address: Akasaka Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052
Map: Click here.
Telephone: 03-5412-3131
Fee: ¥3,500 (Advance) ¥4,500 (Door)
Includes presentation, light buffet dinner, drink, limited edition publication and limited edition print.
Language: English with Japanese Interpretation

Email before Friday, Sept 10. 6pm.
Advance payment can be made here:


August 27, 2010

Black-Out Stencil

I’m super-amped to announce the public release of Eli Carrico’s Black-Out Stencil typeface via Wordshape/MyFonts.

Black-Out was used for the cover and interior of the Barbara Bestor book, Bohemian Modern, designed by Eli and Michael Worthington a few years ago over at Counterspace, a stunning book about L.A. architecture and interiors. Since then, it’s seen super-limited use by a select few folks, but Eli decided (with a little prodding) that the time was nigh for public release.

A chunky mix of geometric stencil, system-based slab serif, and a unique feel that falls somewhere between 1967 and the year 3000, Black-Out will sock you in the privates and run off with your money. Or something.

May 26, 2010

New keitai theme!

I’m excited to announce my new signature keitai kisekae/cellphone theme for WKTokyoLab’s mobile device shop. Kisekae are sets of images that users can download to create a holistic theme for their phone.

The theme I created for the TokyoLab music label is called “Utopia” and is based on a music video that I did in collaboration with the Lab folks for NHK a few years ago. It is an animated modular pictorial utopian vision of Tokyo in the future.

The theme is completely animated, with custom-designed icons for battery power and signal strength, a smart display that analyzes the time of day and generates one of four different appropriate images (morning, afternoon, evening, night), mail sending screen, mail receiving screen, incoming and outgoing call screens, typographically considered menus, and a ton more stuff.

Ian Lynam WKTokyoLab Kisekai Keitai Cellphone theme

In Japan, you can use your phone to browse to this address and download the theme.

Many thanks to Bruce, Yoko, and the WKTokyoLab team for making such a cool project happen!

April 24, 2010

Idea + Mini Graphics

Two new publications out now.

Idea Magazine Forms of Practice Ian Lynam

First, a new feature for the latest issue of Idea Magazine (issue #340) called Forms of Practice, interviewing young designers, is on newsstands now.

Idea Magazine Forms of Practice Ian Lynam

Second, the foreword for a new book from Sandu Media called Mini Graphics, an exploration of small-scale graphic design projects.

Mini Graphics Ian Lynam

April 14, 2010

Boul Mich + Cooper Text family

Boul Mich

The digital debut of Oz Cooper’s “Moderne” Broadway-esque titling typeface, Boul Mich, available now from MyFonts!

1927 was a discouraging year for Oswald Bruce Cooper, having to devote his time to developing faddish display typefaces based on others’ designs in lieu of truly original work.

Though he sidestepped blame in his essay On Cooper Type Faces, Barnhart Bros. & Spindler’s General Manager Richard N. McArthur was the one responsible for assigning Cooper busywork. McArthur put together a sampling of Broadway-esque hand lettering from assorted advertisements, suggesting a very specific incising treatment.

Cooper drew the basic forms of the letters, leaving the bulk of the work to the pattern makers at BB&S, but provided the framework from which the typeface was drawn. The typeface was named Boul Mich, after Michigan Boulevard, Chicago’s mix of carriage trade shops, elegant residences, artists’ studios, and Bohemian side streets. While not a design of Cooper’s choosing, this modern typeface is a paean to the flexibility of Cooper’s skill.

Cooper Initials are offered in their original capital alphabet form in this digital version, with no supplementary characters.

The release of these two typefaces coincides with the publication of the definitive Oswald Bruce Cooper biography by Ian Lynam, published in Japan’s Idea Magazine issue #339. Cooper’s biography is delivered in English and Japanese with numerous full-color illustrations of never-before-published work.

Boul Mich has been lovingly redrawn from Oswald Bruce Cooper’s original drawings and mechanical proofs. It is comprised of a capital letter alphabet, full European character set, figures, and full range of diacritics.

Boul Mich is available now via MyFonts.

Cooper Text Ian Lynam

New typeface set out now via MyFonts: Cooper Text.

Cooper Text is a comprised of two fonts- Cooper OldStyle and Cooper Initials. Cooper OldStyle is a round-serifed text typeface, while Cooper Initials are ornamental capitals designed for use as complementary drop caps.

Cooper OldStyle has been lovingly redrawn from Oswald Bruce Cooper’s original drawings and mechanical proofs while Cooper Initials have been drawn from a sample in the seminal monograph of Cooper’s work, The Book of Oz.
Cooper OldStyle was originally released as a non-kerning typeface, which offered limited use for text setting. Oz Cooper was never quite happy with the copious amount of “air” around the typeface’s characters, so this definitive version has been painstakingly spaced and kerned for even text-setting.

Cooper Initials is a set of three typefaces:
- Cooper Initials, the base form derived from Cooper’s original design
- Cooper Ground, blocks of solid color that match the proportions of the Initials and which can be used to add a background color to the typefaces through layering
- Cooper Capitals, the lone letterforms within the initials, which can be layered to add highlight color to the letterform component of the set

These typefaces can be paired with Cooper Italic Complete for setting long lengths of text.

Cooper OldStyle Ian Lynam

The history of these typefaces:

Cooper OldStyle is the result of Barnhart Brothers & Spindler type foundry representatives Richard N. McArthur and Charles R. Murray having met with Oswald Cooper and his business partner Fred Bertsch in 1917. Due to other commercial design firms adopting Cooper’s style of lettering throughout the Midwest, both companies came to an agreement to create a family of types based on Cooper’s advertising lettering. McArthur and Murray saw the biggest potential in the super-bold advertising lettering that would become Cooper Black, but agreed that a roman weight old style should be executed first, the logical progenitor to a family or related types.

The foundry requested that the roman have rounded serifs so as to more specifically correlate to the planned bold. This was the first of many tactical strategies in type design between type designer and foundry, most specifically McArthur and Cooper, whose back-and-forth relationship in designing, critiquing, and modifying letterforms was integral in shaping the oeuvre of type designs credited to Cooper. While it was Cooper’s sheer talent in shaping appealing and useful alphabets that made his work so popular, McArthur’s role as critic and editor has gone largely un-noted in the slim amount of writing of length about Cooper’s work.

Cooper and McArthur went back and forth over the design of the roman face for nearly two years with Cooper, constantly redrawing and revising the typeface to get it to a castable state. The capitals were successively redrawn by Cooper, with particular care paid to the “B” and “R” to make them relate formally. The lowercase was redrawn numerous times, as were experiments in shaping the punctuation. McArthur requested a pair of dingbats to accompany the typeface, along with a decorative four leaf clover ornament “for luck”.

Cooper included a slightly iconoclastic, cartoonish paragraph mark, as well as decorative end elements, a centered period, and brackets with a hand-drawn feel.

The final typeface is a lively, bouncy conglomeration whose rounded forms dazzle and move the eye. Originally called merely “Cooper” in early showings, the name was later revised to “Cooper Oldstyle”. The typeface met with a warm reception upon release in 1919, the public favoring its advertising-friendly, tightly-spaced appearance. Sales were moderate, and the face was considered a success.

Cooper originally drew the figures the same width as the “M” of the font, but revised them to the width of the “N” at the request of McArthur. Early versions of drawings of the slimmer figures are noted as “cruel stuff” in accompanying notes by Cooper, though they were versioned out into far more elegant numerals than the earlier stout figures. Both versions of the numerals are included in the digital release, as are the ornamental elements.

In 1925, McArthur and Murray requested a set of ornamental initials. Cooper designed the initials open-faced on a square ground surrounded by organic ornament. The initials were “intended to be nearly even in ‘color value’ with that of normal text type”. The letterforms themselves are a medium-bold variation on the Cooper OldStyle theme, lacking the balance of Cooper’s text faces, but charming nonetheless.

Cooper Initials are offered in their original capital alphabet form in this digital version, with no supplementary characters.

The release of these two typefaces coincides with the publication of the definitive Oswald Bruce Cooper biography, published in Japan’s Idea Magazine issue #339. Cooper’s biography is delivered in English and Japanese with numerous full-color illustrations of never-before-published work.

Available now via MyFonts.

March 17, 2010

Cooper Hilite Complete

Brand new Cooper revival out as of 5 minutes ago!

Cooper Hilite Complete is a complementary set of two fonts- Cooper Black and Cooper Hilite. Either typeface can be used alone, or as a stackable, multi-colored set.

 The history of these typefaces:

Cooper Black, the most famous and successful of Oswald Cooper’s type designs was released in 1920, following a year of development fleshing out the weight of the typeface and filling out the full character set. Cooper redrew the lowercase characters multiple times, toying with the rounded forms of the “m” and “n” and engaged in a lively debate with McArthur over the final form as McArthur requested that the typeface be drawn bolder and bolder. Cooper famously said the face was “for far-sighted printers with near-sighted customers”, and the public agreed. Sales of Cooper Black were voluminous, and Barnhart Brothers and Spindler had a difficult time keeping up with the demand for the typeface. Conservative typographers were critical of Cooper Black, though it was overwhelmingly popular, helping to shape the American advertising landscape through the 1920s and 1930s.


1925 saw the release of Cooper Hilite, the highlighted companion to Cooper Black. The design was executed by merely painting white incised negative spaces on a proof of Cooper Black.


These two typefaces are the result of researching Cooper’s original drawings and series of engraved proofs for both typefaces. The typefaces include the full range of punctuation and diacritics that fill out a full character set. The typefaces have been lovingly kerned for the smoothest result in text setting.

Available now via MyFonts.

February 16, 2010



Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior designer (iPod, iPad, iTouch, et al) likes the YACHT logo so much that he and the Apple design team dropped some free custom laser-engraved iPods on the YACHT team last week.

February 15, 2010

New feature article in IDEA


I wrote a 10,000 word essay called “Heft, Gravy, and Swing: The Life and Times of Oswald Cooper” for the latest issue of Idea. The essay serves as the definitive biography of the Chicago type and lettering designer, famed for his Cooper Black typeface.


The essay is the result of a long-dreamed of trip to Chicago to sift through Cooper’s original drawings, scarce writings, and working papers. Copiously illustrated with proofs of Cooper’s work, unpublished typefaces, and photographs of rare design work, his legacy is brought into contemporary focus. New biographical information about Cooper, his work, and his associates is discussed within.


An excerpt:

Bertsch & Cooper was a visionary commercial art service. They were one of the first shops in Chicago that offered to create layouts, compose artwork, and typeset text all under one roof. They continually added staff, resulting in a scattershot assortment of illustrators, draftsmen, and compositors peppered throughout the same building in a variety of rooms. At their first location, Bertsch was famous for his “inter-office communication system” which consisted of yelling upstairs and down from the inner balcony of the building to professional associates. Cooper was ensconced in the “bull pen”- a room with a half dozen or so other commercial artists scratching away at the jobs of the day. Cooper was renowned for his “filing system”- a towering, dusty, haphazardly curved pile of layouts, proofs, notes, and other assorted papers that loomed over his desk, each day’s ephemera separated by a newspaper from that date.


This pile grew in relation with Bertsch & Cooper’s increasing roster of clients, which included a number of local Chicago businesses including doctors’ offices, legal firms, coffee shops, and banks, New York’s Marchbanks Press, the department store Marshall Fields, Strathmore Papers, Red Book Magazine, American Printer Magazine, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Cooper’s distinctive lettering can be found on a series of public service announcements for the United States government’s Food Administration, exhorting the public to eat less and conserve rations during World War One.


The article was jointly designed by myself and the Shirai Design Office, the esteemed designers of Idea. It contains the first public showing of Cooper Italic Complete.


Oh, and it’s in both English and Japanese.

February 10, 2010

Illustration Exhibition

I’ll be exhibiting a number of illustrations drawn for the recent Blunt Mechanic CD on Barsuk Records on February 13th at the Sakura Gallery in Nakameguro.

The exhibition is an all-day art party and exhibition, running from noon until 10pm.

Sakura Gallery
Nakameguro 2-5-28 1F
Tel. 03-6277-2100

Supported by Niigata Beer, Chazymo, Aroma Tea Ale, and Mooring Deck.
map here.

February 8, 2010

"Staying Put"


My latest print project, a double poster set called “Poster Initiative 004A” will debut at Grasshut in Portland, Oregon in the show “Staying Put”. The show opens tomorrow, February 6.

The show is a collection of prints from folks such as Yellena James, Tim Biskup, Scrappers, Chris Johanson, APAK, Mauro Gatti, Shawn Wolfe, The Little Friends of Printmaking, Studio Folk, and others.

Work from the show is available online here.

811 East Burnside
Portland, OR 97214

February 6, 2010

New typeface release

Cooper Fullface Italic

Just released via MyFonts, my latest typeface release is the definitive version of Oswald Bruce Cooper’s great lost typeface Cooper Fullface Italic.

At the end of 1927, Oswald Bruce Cooper yearned to create a heavy “modern” face- akin to Broadway and other display types in height and proportion, but more nuanced while being a dense, black type. The Barnhart Brothers & Spindler foundry, for whom Cooper had designed a number of typefaces, saw the potential of the typeface as a big seller. Richard McArther, General Manager of the foundry, referred to it as “the hotsy stuff”, though he was highly critical of a number of characters in the original design. He requested a successive number of modifications, including the addition of Dwiggins-inspired serifs to the face to make it stand apart from similarly-weighted typefaces then on the market. He wanted to imbue the face with a considerable amount of “old-timey” flavor in order to impart a sense of originality to the face and have it sell across both Modern and Bodoni/Didot market segments.

The resulting typeface was called Cooper Fullface, a jaunty and swollen caricature of a Didone with great potential for display advertising work. The final form of the face was a regulated and consistent balance of cartoonishness and earnest visual braggadocio, the bouncy, circus fairway-like swing of the original drawings of the letters taken down considerably and figures redrawn and redrawn for maximum readability.

A specimen sheet was mailed out in 1929, and generated moderate sales, but too late- Barnhart Brothers & Spindler closed its foundry division shortly thereafter as part of ATF’s corporate roll-up of manufacturing. The American Type Founders continued to produce the face and sell it at a decent pace, renaming it Cooper Modern.

Cooper designed a matching italic for Cooper Fullface, but it was never released. The BB&S foundry closure resulted in the foundry equipment being shipped to New Jersey a few weeks shy of the typeface’s completion. It is unfortunate, as the accompanying italic is perhaps Cooper’s masterpiece, a lively Bodoni-esque italic with more than a bit of influence from 19th Century display types, particularly in the treatment of the ball serifs on the uppercase “A”, “J”, “M”, and “N”. Cooper Fullface Italic stands as the until-now missing bookend to Cooper’s career as a type designer.

This digital release is the revival of that lost Cooper typeface, Cooper Fullface Italic. Within are two typefaces- Cooper Fullface Italic and Cooper Fullface Italic Fancy. The two faces span the range of Cooper’s original drawings- the Fancy typeface utilizing a number of alternate characters.

These two typefaces are the result of researching Cooper’s original drawings and series of engraved proofs for both typefaces. The typefaces include the original ligatures, original Oz Cooper ornaments, fancy swash characters, and a range of punctuation and diacritics, et al, that fill out a full character set. The typefaces have been lovingly kerned for the smoothest result in text setting.

Available via MyFonts.

January 21, 2010

New font releases

Two new font releases on MyFonts this week.

600x375 2

The first is the definitive version of Oswald Bruce Cooper’s classic typeface Cooper Italic.

1924 saw the release of Cooper Italic, the italic companion to Cooper Oldstyle. Cooper Italic possesses “a most unusual swing” in a number of the characters, most specifically the scooped, pigeon-toed feet of the lowercase “n”, “h”, and “m”. These idiosyncratic characters are offset by more stately and assured capitals. Cooper said that his Italic is “much closer to its parent pen form than the roman” and “that freedom is almost the life of it”.

Cooper was a firm believer in creating humanist letterforms that echo the hand that created them, not wringing the life out of them through refinement and mechanization. In Cooper’s own words about Cooper Italic, “The designer is conscious of its crudity, and of its irreverence for the best traditions. But he believes that there are enough good types already– that the need is for poor types that can be used! And since he admits this to be a poor one, there now remains to be found out only whether it is usable or not.” Cooper was long a believer that good type should be homely- if too pretty or sleek, it’s lifespan would be exponentially shortened.


Cooper designed a set of swash capitals to pair with Cooper Italic in 1927 that had not been released until now. The swash capitals are a lively interpretation of round serifed oldstyle caps mixed with classic Caslon italic forms.

These two typefaces are the result of researching Cooper’s original drawings and series of engraved proofs for both typefaces. The typefaces include the original ligatures (never before released digitally), the previously unreleased Swash characters, and a range of punctuation and diacritics, et al, that fill out a full character set. The typefaces have been lovingly kerned for the smoothest result in text setting.

Cooper Italic Complete is available from MyFonts here.


The second typeface release is called Stacker. Stacker is a display gothic typeface with three weights of extruded typefaces that can be used to project the main typeface spatially.

Originally designed for Beautiful/Decay magazine, then picked up for Nokia’s 2006 Europe campaign, Stacker is a bold, lively, attention-grabbing display face.

The extruded faces can be used in a standalone manner, as they have been by electronic musicians such as YACHT and E*Rock.

Stacker is available from MyFonts here.

January 16, 2010

Typography 101


Last chance to sign up for Typography 101 at Temple University Japan.

The course has been expanded to include designing custom typefaces and programming digital fonts from them.

January 13, 2010

Clobber Grotesk Stencil Bold


Clobber Grotesk Stencil Bold is a new typeface I designed now available through MyFonts. Clobber marries crude stencil forms with extreme legibility/readability at small sizes.

January 10, 2010

Peace Sweater Now Available

Peace Sweater

The Peace Sweater project that I worked on with Ryo Chikushi Bordini, Stefan Sagmeister, Oded Ezer, Dainippon Type Organization, and many others is now available online.

Peace Sweater

In TAB’s words:

Typography meets fashion with this limited edition sweater with a simple message. Top designers from around the globe contributed the word Peace in their own language, woven together into a harmonious typographic pattern and then printed on a beautifully tailored organic cotton sweater. More than a fashion item, it is an environmental and uplifting statement for a brighter future.

December 8, 2009