Playing Against Type: Pop-Up Exhibition Has Fun with Fonts


Font nerds, put your glasses on, because this comprehensive display of three-dimensional type has exited your computer screens and entered the real world. House Industries, a graphic design firm dedicated to creating a “tangible experience” around its digital type, is unleashing some of its most lauded products onto the public in a month-long exhibition at Type Directors Club in Manhattan. The show will comprise the striking prints, patterns, installations and sculptures based on House’s 16-year love affair with alphabetical forms.

Most of the type-ified objects featured in “Type as Object” have made previous appearances at Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects Gallery in LA and at 222 Gallery in Philadelphia. But as a bonus for New York lettering aficionados, House is offering a wide cross-section of its work available for purchase in the TDC Pop-Up Shop. Some picks below:

Iron ampersand (to be used as doorstop, bookend, paperweight, or self-defense utensil) and Neutraface slab alphabet blocks.

Blocks with Alexander Girard fonts, and Girard-designed memory game.

Making the “digital vapor” or pixels, points, curves, and other typography tools into a tactile experience fills a relatively large piece of the design-as-object pie (case in point: Keep Calm and Carry On and For Like Ever printed posters, as seen across the blog landscape and tacked to walls all over the borough of Brooklyn). House Industries’ pop-up boutique concept is an effort to marry the ideas of “art, commerce, practicality and sustainability,” with the exhibition and sale of fontastic pillows, wood alphabet blocks, cloth totes, hand-printed serigraphs, cast iron and aluminum bookends, books, cutting boards and “anything else that will fit on the freight elevator.” To wrap it all up, House designer Ken Barber will speak on the topic of “Letter as Image” on November 19, followed by an all-day lettering workshop on the 20th.

A collection of House Industries typeface posters.

House Industries “Type as Object” will open October 20 – accompanied by a reception and lecture by principals Andy Cruz and Rich Roat – and will run through November 20, 2009. The Type Directors Club is located at 347 West 36 Street, Suite 603, in New York.