Typography specimen with white block letters appear on a black background.
The Typography of W. E. B. Du Bois
The typography in Du Bois's data visualizations was composed of simple lines for efficient transcription and has inspired contemporary designers.
Bauhaus Typography at 100
Presented in collaboration with the Letterform Archive, San Francisco What is Bauhaus typography, and why does it matter? Take a virtual tour of Letterform Archive’s exhibition Bauhaus Typography at 100, and get up close and personal with little-known works from the collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Look at key pieces of graphic design...
The front and back covers of a book are shown. A collage of black-and-white photographs completely bleeds off all sides of the two covers. The cut-and-pasted photographs depict Black people of different ages, some with natural Afro hair styles. The title “RE:CREATION” and the author’s name are typeset in red Futura caps. One figure is highlighted with red ink, printed transparently over the black photograph. An outdoor sign for Jackson State College appears on the back cover.
Broadside Press and Black Graphic Design
Broadside: A single sheet of paper printed on one side only. For centuries, broadsides were a popular ephemeral format for distributing news, announcements, advertisements, or commentary in the form of ballads.  Between 1966 and 1975, Broadside Press in Detroit, Michigan published 81 books and dozens of poetry broadsides written and designed by Black writers and...
White background with black design. Black and white photograph of jazz musician Roscoe Mitchell occupies lower three-quarters of cover, set in black circle, with black concentric rings emanating outward. Upper one-quarter is white with black, blocky stylized lettering: Sound/ Roscoe/ Mitchell, and Sextet perpendicularly.
Laini Abernathy, Black Graphic Designer
Laini (Sylvia) Abernathy (who died in 2010) was an artist, designer, and activist. Cooper Hewitt is collecting album covers designed by this important designer, who contributed to the Black cultural scene in the late 1960s. Abernathy was part of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) in Chicago. BAM, a national movement founded after the assassination of...
Image features a poaster with blue and yellow background. In the foreground, an image of a Philips Miniwatt Type E444 diode-tetrode radio value lamp, in shades or grey and brown. "MiNiWATT" is printed in red, while "PHILIPS RADIO" is rendered in solid black letters, outlined in white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
“i’s” or “eyes”
When legendary French graphic designer A.M. Cassandre was hired in 1931 to produce this poster for the Dutch light bulb and radio tube manufacturer Philips, he was at the high point of his career. Together with fellow poster designer Charles Lupton, Cassandre had founded the printing and publishing collective Alliance Graphique in Paris, France.[1] Cassandre...
Jennifer Morla: Experimental Typography
In celebration of the milestone 20th anniversary of the National Design Awards, this week’s Object of The Day posts honor National Design Award winners. What does “typography” mean to you? Does the word stir up contempt for Comic Sans and Papyrus, or does it conjure a death match between Times New Roman and Helvetica? For...
Image features a black background with letter "S" outlined in blue, evoking a fluorescent light. A box of Orion light bulbs is in the foreground in the lower register of the poster, printed in blue, orange, and white. A light bulb hangs in the center of the upper register, with the word "Orion" printed across it, and printed in white and gold. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
An Elusive “S”
Apart from several months spent at Iparművészeti Iskola, Budapest’s school of applied arts, József Bottlik[1] was a self-taught graphic designer. Bottlik began his career in 1919 and quickly established himself as a designer of eye-catching commercial product and film posters, including a celebrated 1927 design for Universal Film AG (UFA) for the film Metropolis.[2] Bottlik...
Image features a green, New York City street sign composed of a landscape-orientation rectangle with "W 125 St" in white letters. The "125" is largest, in the middle, and the other text is slightly smaller, on either side, and higher up. The material of the sign will reflect light, and appears in this image with a small diamond pattern, like a chain-link fence. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
We’re Walkin’ Here!
The first street signs in New York City, known as “direction boards,” were posted in 1793 and were largely used on horsecars.[1] They were intended to “rationalize the city’s built environment,” and have undergone many changes over the years. The recognizable rectangular shape of today’s signs, like this one in Cooper Hewitt’s collection, date to...
Image features a light orange book cover showing the title, GEEK LOVE, in black hand-lettered capital letters at top, the words overlapping their mirrored images in dark orange. Printed below the title, in black capital letters: A NOVEL / KATHERINE DUNN. At the left edge, hand-lettered text repeats the title and author's name on the spine. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Book Geek
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. What does it take to design a great book cover? An avid taste for literature surely helps, and so does an eccentric eye for images and type. Chip Kidd (American, b. 1964) has designed some of...