Cooper Hewitt: the typeface by Chester Jenkins

“[S]ince Cooper Hewitt is a government institution, “utilizing a well-crafted, American-made product was important. And not something that’s Helvetica.” Jenkins echoes that sentiment: “The design was created for the Smithsonian, which is owned by the people of the United States, so the typeface should likewise belong to the people of the United States.” —

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.21.55 PMThe new typeface, Cooper Hewitt, is a contemporary sans serif, with characters composed of modified-geometric curves and arches. Initially commissioned by Pentagram to evolve his Polaris Condensed typeface, Chester Jenkins created a new digital form to support the newly transformed museum. 
“Developing this typeface specifically for Cooper Hewitt has been enormously gratifying,” said Jenkins. “Instead of building on the Polaris structures, I drew everything from scratch, using the existing forms as a rough guide for letter widths and master-stroke thicknesses.”

The new font can be downloaded free of charge for unrestricted public use under the SIL Open Font License. —Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.