“[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.” —qz.com
The 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.