Charles and Ray Eames were the original designers as authors. They produced everything from furniture to toys. They never designed type. But a celebration of the Eames through type is now coming to life through House Industries. I asked Rich Roat to explain the motivation behind the new series called the Eames Century Modern collection of 26 fonts. As part of this release, House is creating a set of Eames House blocks and three Eames serigraphs that will be available on May 1, 2010. House also built an exhibition that made its first stop at the Eames Office in Santa Monica, Calif.
What was the inspiration for this font series?
It is something that we’ve always wanted to do since doing our first collaborative license with Ed “Big Daddy” Roth in 1995. We first started talking to Eames Demetrios, Charles’ grandson and standard bearer for the Eames estate, in 1999 about creating this collection. It took us awhile to assemble all of the pieces, but it was a unique opportunity to collaborate with the Eames family and embark on a design journey with them to create something with sense of beauty, utility, and ubiquity that Charles and Ray would have wanted.
How would you characterize this collection? Eames Century Modern works within the rigid confines of a typographic system in conventional text settings while flexing its mirthful and decorative roots as it is used at larger sizes. Eames Century Modern is sort of like waiting in a departure lounge on Eames system airport seating. You don’t know why you’re comfortable, you just are.
What role will it fill in the design universe? We hope that typographic consumers will see it as a practical design element that transcends its roots to become a universal type solution. That’s the wish that Eames Demetrios expressed to Andy and I when we sealed the deal. We’ll see.