How the Fluid Curvy Letters of Cooper Black Made It the Font of Choice for Pop Culture and Advertising

In an illustrative report for Vox, video producer Estelle Caswell (previously) consulted with legendary art director Steven Heller and typeface expert Bethany Heck to talk about the widespread appeal of the Cooper Black font. They each explained how the curvy letters offered a particular fluidity to effectively communicate messages in a serious but playful manner, particularly in advertising and in pop-culture. The font was developed in 1922 by illustrator Oswald Cooper and has remained in high demand since it was first developed.

There’s a typeface that has made a resurgence in the last couple of years. It’s appeared on hip hop album covers, food packaging, and advertising. Perhaps you know it from the Garfield comics, Tootsie Roll logo, or the Pet Sounds album cover by the Beach Boys. It’s called Cooper Black, and its popularity and ubiquity has never waned in the hundred years since it was first designed.

Cooper Old Style Cooper Black
image by Blythwood