For the launch of the three fonts in the Chalet package
– variations on famous classics like Helvetica, Futura
and Avant Garde
– House Industries
invented a fictional history centred on a designer by the name of René Albert Chalet
He had allegedly made his money in fashion in the 1940s, and designed a few typefaces along the way. House
led the design world up the garden path, accusing it of ignorance of its own history.
The story was so convincingly portrayed – with quotes from prominent designers, for example – that many people believed it. Magazines published articles on the Chalet fonts and their history, oblivious to the fact that it was entirely made up. Peculiar “facts” were accepted unquestioningly, such as the suggestion that Chalet
had been released 13 years earlier than Helvetica, effectively declaring Helvetica a copy.
Chalet Comprimé: a large amount of information in a small space, without compromising the elegance and character of the original version
There was also criticism. Emigre’s Rudy Vanderlans
was not at all impressed by the coup: “You can tell people just about anything about the origins of a font, since typeface design already suffers from a great deal of anonymity.” He wished House Industries
had shown as much respect to Chalet’s true models – Helvetica
– as to Big Daddy Roth
(Rat Fink Fonts) and Ed Benguiat
However, the charade was not detrimental to Chalet’s success, in fact quite the opposite. Within a matter of weeks, the font package was famous around the world.