128. Field Report: House Industries AIGA Event.
Nov 5, 2007 at 02:21PM
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House Industries AIGA event
Albuquerque, NM
Los Poblanos Inn & Cultural Center

About 60 people showed up at Los Poblamos in Albuquerque to hear Rich Roat and Andy Cruz, the founders and main designers at House Industries. Their “Show and Tell” started with a brief history of how House was started and gave a behind the scenes peak at their working method.

In 1993 Andy and Rich were coworkers at a design firm when they decided to branch out on their own. They formed House Industries, naming it from two images in a stock line-art book of a house right next to a factory. They started mainly in graphic design and brand design. Their style tended to lean towards the kinds of things they would draw in their notebooks when they were in school.

This gravitated them towards font creation, although at the time it was nothing of the sort.Their “fonts” were all hand drawn, notebook-style creations that didn’t look like anything being done at the time. Most were the result of doodles on paper towels, water-paper or vellum. Their first real money maker was grunge style fonts sold to Warner Bros. Records. What really defined Andy and Rich was how they stayed true to their roots of interest in graphic design. Punk Rock show leaflets (Flyer Fonts), Horror Movie posters (Monster), 70’s car magazines (Street Van) and 50’s bowling alleys (House-a-Rama) became hand-drawn fonts. All of these were the types of things that had interested them as teenagers, but Andy and Rich gave them their own life, their own style and created entire typographic libraries. If you were to ask them though, font creation isn’t what they do. They prefer to think of it as hand lettering. Only after all of the hand-drawn letterforms are created do they go back and painstakingly re-create them digitally. They also started to design packaging for the type, giving them another creative outlet to flex their design muscles.

As they grew artistically as well as financially, the two felt like they needed another muse. This came in the world of fashion. They were first asked to design a store in SOHO, but they liked doing it so much that the House33 project was born. House33 gave them the freedom to explore their creativity in the various mediums as fashion, interior design, shoes, luggage, and furniture. They even created a character “Jack the Fox” as a result of the original store being in SOHO, which had once been a large fox-hunting area.

Returning to typography, the two became interested in more traditional non-digital font creation. They started looking into photo-lettering and decided to bring it into the digital world. They started creating what could be called tribute-fonts, as they were named after the designers that inspired both the font and its creators. Benguiat was created as a tribute to Ed Benguiat, Neutraface was a tribute to Richard Neutra and EERO for Ed Roth. (See Neutraface No. 2 for a bar-raising update to Neutraface.)

Roat and Cruz also unveiled their newest font family, named Girard for Alexander Girard, a spectacular designer and typographer. Girard is most famous for the Braniff Airlines typography as well as interior design of the planes’ cabins, as well as photo lettering for Herman Miller, and La Fonda Del Sol. The font itself is inspired by his own hand designed fonts and also his signature.

Article originally appeared on Graphicology (http://www.graphicology.com/).
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