Object Timeline

2014

  • We acquired this object.

  • Work on this object began.

2020

2022

  • You found it!

Digital Typeface, Cooper Hewitt Solar

This is a Digital typeface. It was designed by Chester Jenkins and firm: Village. It is dated 2014 and we acquired it in 2014. It is a part of the Digital department.

Designed by Chester Jenkins, the Cooper Hewitt Solar typeface is based on Jenkins’ Polaris typeface, originally created for his wife and partner Tracy for use in her Yale MFA thesis in 2003. Tracy wanted a neutral typeface which was in the same neighborhood as Akzidenz Grotesk and Univers; typefaces from the Modernist canon. Jenkins describes his early designs as “too quirky” and “not neutral enough.”
Jenkins felt that the typeface was successful “only when all superfluous design" was stripped from the letterforms, and the details which define a typeface were pared to the absolute simplest form.

Jenkins was approached by Pentagram partner Eddie Opara to help tweak Polaris Condensed to serve as the new logotype for the Cooper Hewitt. Instead of working with the existing letterforms, he chose to build on top of them. Jenkins began by drawing everything by hand, using the existing forms only as a rough guide. He applied new constraints, “making the design both more strict, and more odd.” Jenkins forced some of the internal point alignments and terminated curves only at perfect horizontal and vertical axes. The end result, Cooper Hewitt Solar, is a modified-geometric sans serif. The curves of the letterforms are stretched arcs with short straight line segments at the apexes of most curves. Jenkins notes that these details are only evident at large sizes, and mark the typeface as a purely digital production.

This object was donated by Chester Jenkins. It is credited Gift of Chester Jenkins.

Its dimensions are

none

Cite this object as

Digital Typeface, Cooper Hewitt Solar; Designed by Chester Jenkins ; USA; none; Gift of Chester Jenkins; 2014-55-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-4.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68268129/ |title=Digital Typeface, Cooper Hewitt Solar |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 January 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>