Saturday, April 16, 2011

Laver's law and typefaces

Someone just asked me what's with Cooper Black - nice typeface but mostly seen as the credits roll for Dad's Army.

I remembered some kind of law of fashion cycles, in which our view of a fashion changes as time passes. So just went on 'tinternet and found it is known as Laver's Law

James Laver was a fashion historian at the V&A, and this appears in a 1937 book Taste and fashion.
"The same costume will be:
Indecent: 10 years before its time
Shameless: 5 years before its time
Outré: 1 year before its time
Smart: now
Dowdy: 1 year after its time
Hideous: 10 years after its time
Ridiculous: 20 years after its time
Amusing: 30 years after its time
Quaint: 50 years after its time
Charming: 70 years after its time
Romantic: 100 years after its time
Beautiful: 150 years after its time"
This seems to have worked quite well for flared trousers which have ceased to seem quite so ridiculous, and I feel I can once more share our 1975 wedding photos (merely amusing now, heading towards quaint). And it won't be too long before photos of blokes with their trousers falling down can be used for blackmail purposes.

But I'm not so sure it works so precisely with typefaces. I think Cooper Black is ready for mainstream re-entry, but I'm not ready to dust off Kabel.