A house that type built
Type foundry House Industries – the subject of a hefty new monograph and a retrospective exhibition near Detroit – champions the joyful vulgarity of United States graphic arts. Jason Godfrey and Dan Adams pay tribute
The Process is the Inspiration (Watson-Guptill), the lavish new volume about House Industries, overflows with inky relish writes Jason Godfrey. The text recounts the story behind this prolific company with panache and candour. In 1993, designers Andy Cruz and Rich Roat gave up their day jobs to launch what they called Brand Design Company…
Jason Godfrey, designer, writer, London
Eames House alphabet blocks set featuring letters and numbers from the typeface family Eames Century Modern, 2010.
Top: Model kit-inspired Rat Fink Fonts box, House Industries’ set of fonts based on the hand-lettering of artist and cartoonist Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, 1996.
My project of amassing a box full of House Industries ephemera – and another of brightly decorated wooden blocks, packaging and die-cut displays – began with Emigre magazine no. 38, writes Dan Adams. House Industries had been given the cover and many inside pages to showcase their very singular ‘Pop-Art Baroque’ interpretation of late twentieth-century American commercial graphics. The studio’s output immediately struck a chord with someone who had fed hungrily on a diet of US comic books, 1950s and ’60s magazines and advertising, Banana Splits, kitschy Hollywood movies and posters, 1980s skateboard graphics and hot-rod culture – an apparently bottomless pit of vibrant, unabashed, joyful vulgarity…
Dan Adams, graphic designer, London
House Industries products including typefaces and other merchandise.
House Industries is now the subject of a substantial exhibition at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan, a fifteen-minute drive from Detroit. ‘House Industries: A Type of Learning’, which the museum describes as ‘multisensory’, runs until 4 September 2017. Curated by Marc Greuther, the show features typefaces, merchandise (far right) and other House Industries products alongside artefacts that have inspired House progenitors Rich Roat, Andy Cruz and Ken Barber…
John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London
Read the full version in Eye no. 94 vol. 24, 2017
Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. You can see what Eye 94 looks like at Eye before You Buy on Vimeo.