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Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

October 12, 2009
"In an effort to marry art, commerce, practicality and sustainability," the fontmasters at House Industries will be mounting their "TYPE AS OBJECT" exhibition at the Type Directors Club in New York next week. According to the show organizers, "'Type as Object' will feature the three dimensional objects that House has derived from its 16 years of creating a tangible experience around its digital type." Of the show's four stated goals, art speaks for itself, practicality is manifest in the utility of the studio's products, their use of green-sourced raw materials lends itself to sustainability, and the commerce part of the equation relates to a temporary House "pop-up shop," where a wide array of the Delaware-based company's objects will be available for purchase.

The Type Directors Club show comes a full calendar year after the group set up at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects Gallery for their "Letters & Ligatures" exhibition, and will be the latest in a long-running series of education and informational typeface and design programs from the TDC, which was founded in 1946. Yes, 1946, before the moguls of Mad Men fame, before Dingbats, before Photoshop.

Though they've not been around as long as the TDC, House Industries have been in the game for quite a while themselves. The creatives first came to the attention of LAS staffers, and the design world as a whole, in 1996 with the release of several font series in rapid succession; their Street Van, Rat Fink and Monster Font collections dropped in three consecutive months that summer. Within the first half of the following year the collective had tabled their iconic Tiki Type and House Gothic Font. In the decade since, the group has expanded their output from mere font collections to include wares for everything from chaise lounges (Neutraface pillows) to cooks (check out their solid maple Ampersand butcher block cutting boards) to Catholics (Alexander Girard Nativity Set). They've also produced the requisite t-shirt and poster prints for the more traditional consumer to enjoy.

Over the course of their decade and a half existence, the design collective has never been content with stasis, consistently branching out in new directions and working in new mediums. Ten years ago there was the eye-catching House Magazine, there's been the 10 Year Book, Studio Book, Case Study Book, and the borderline absurd Agent Provocateur Book & Knickers, and of course last year we blurbed about both their DIY Font Kiosk at the Fresh-Pressed print shop in Los Angeles and their Cast Iron Ampersands. Along the way the group has been praised in the pages of Fast Company, Juxtapoz, Swindle, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Print and other esteemed and not-so-esteemed publications--Parent & Child featured the company's Alexander Girard Alphabet Blocks, which LAS ran a news blurb about last month and noted for being "made in the USA from replenishable Michigan-grown, kiln-dried basswood, and printed with non-toxic, lead-free child-safe inks."

"Type as Object" promises to represent the full scope of the House portfolio, "from the ridiculously impractical to the infinitely functional." There will be an opening reception for the show on Tuesday, October 20th, from 6-8pm at the TDC, with an introductory lecture by company founders Andy Cruz and Rich Roat. There will also be a more in-depth lecture, "Letter as Image," presented by principle designer Ken Barber, to close the show on November 19th. "Type Salon: Photo Lettering and You," an all-day lettering workshop will round out the activities on November 20th.

SEE ALSO: www.houseind.com
SEE ALSO: www.tdc.org

--
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other articles by Eric J Herboth.

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