As news of the unexpected passing of Rich Roat, founder of the Yorklyn-based House Industries and one of the most renown typeface designers in the world, went viral over the weekend, his far-reaching impact was evident. After House tweeted a simple tribute graphic on Saturday, mourners from across the globe began to tweet condolences and memories, often with Twitter handles containing words like “type” or “font” or “design.”
— House Industries (@houseindustries) December 2, 2017
Some went for longform tributes, including one from designer Ben Kiel of the St. Louis firm XYZ Type:
A few words on Rich Roat: https://t.co/AJXB4uXwJt
(forgive the mixing of personal on the business site, it’s the spot I have to post)
— Ben Kiel (@benkiel) December 3, 2017
“His sense of humor and verbal play filled the House Industries catalogs, lectures, books, and website. His copy always made me laugh,” wrote Kiel. “I saw him show that warmth over the years to anyone who walked up to talk to him at any event. At first one might not be sure what to make of this tall, boisterous man, but it always became clear as he warmed up the room and people gravitated to him.”
California tableware company and Roat collaborator Heath Ceramics also made a blog post in tribute:
Remembering a Beloved Collaborator and Friend – Rich Roat was co-founder and co-owner, along with Andy… https://t.co/XsYbsYOOoP
— Heath Ceramics (@heathceramics) December 3, 2017
“Rich’s approach to his job was to make it as close as he could to what he’d want to be doing if he didn’t have to have a job — and we can’t think of many who stuck to that philosophy better, requiring both wisdom and guts along with a little bit of just going for it because it’ll make you happy if it actually happens,” they wrote.
Roat’s hand-lettering work is world-famous, seen on everything from high-end decor to product packaging to billboards, inspiring young designers to create their own lettering. He is a legend of the Delaware design scene, and will be missed.