Thursday, March 19, 2009

Alexander Girard typeface

21 Mar 09 Rewrite

House Industries has produced a number of fonts based on the typographic work of my former employer, Alexander Girard, provoking reminiscence. The Girards lived only a couple of blocks up Canyon Road from my family in the mid-20th Century. I went to school with their daughter Sansi ('de Sans Souci') and, through her, met Sandro and Susan who offered me a job in his workshop (never called a "studio," per Mrs. Girard - that would be affectation!). It was certainly one of the most interesting and stylish jobs I ever had, through which I met and worked several days with Charles and Ray Eames. But I was young and thought things would be even better if I (and my new wife) moved to New York. That's another story.

For all his international reputation, Santa Fe considers Girard to be a local pillar of community fame, and not without reason. St. John's College in Santa Fe, in it's infancy (where Sansi and I studied the 'Great Books') was designed by him and another local pillar, John Gaw Meem. Girard's style was stamped on the Compound Restaurant in its heyday, and the wing housing his collection of artifacts and folk toys now dominates the Museum of International Folk Art, much as his presence did in my youth. Bright colors and whimsical modernism became the hallmark of those years in Santa Fe, so different from the current hollow Santa Fe Style, which I call "Santa Barbarism".


House Industries - Girard Fonts

see also: máXimo, Architonic, and the exhibition at SFMOMA

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