Why did you decide to revive Cooper Back in particular? In ’93 I released an elliptical seriffed blackletter font called Ferox and Cooper Black was the inspiration. Since then I’ve spent a fair bit of my career designing type with rounded or soft terminals. The Tate font family is probably my best known of these. I’m motivated by typeforms that have powerful foundations in pop culture, and Cooper Black is the most loved of all.
Why do you think it’s remained so popular over the years? It never looks bad. For that reason it’s available in signage and custom print shops EVERYWHERE. It’s thoroughly embedded in the collective psyche, and so its happy, fun and comforting spirit always reassures.
What do the redesigned letterforms bring to it, as an already-iconic typeface? Two things. First of all the digital outlines of Cooper Black are fairly sloppy work when compared to the Cooper Black you see in a specimen book from the 1920s. I could have done a very authentic revival of the original, but I didn’t because there’s not a lot of value in that, its widespread use is proof that it’s not broken. I redesigned it because, like anything that’s a hundred years old, there’s something archaic about it. I wanted to see it without that.
The second thing is that the Cooper family is far less successful. The light weights lack the warmth because they were made for book text and so are narrow and have different details. New Kansas was designed as a display face, good for 14pt and above. Thus we were able to instill the spirit of the Black weight throughout the family.
Why’s it called New Kansas? Oz Cooper was raised in Kansas, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, America’s best-loved homegrown fairytale was set in Kansas. Seemed right.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? It’s one of the very few elliptical serif designs and there aren’t many similar fonts. It’s fairly easy to tell it from Cooper Black because the serifs on the p and q are horizontal. Also, the e has a teardrop shaped counter whereas Cooper’s is semicircular.
What should I use it for? Absolutely everything, just like Cooper Black!
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? It pairs well with fonts based on simple everyday handwriting. We also have New Kansas Text in development, a little narrower, more widely spaced and robust for those smaller sizes.