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Yorklyn-Based Design Company Struts its Stuff at Michigan's Henry Ford Museum

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The spirit of innovation is alive and kicking at The Henry Ford Museum as it showcases 25 years of creativity from a local graphic design company. And, if things go well, “House Industries—A Type of Learning,” could land at a venue a little closer to home.

Meanwhile, House co-founders Rich Roat and Andy Cruz are thrilled to share their story through their first major exhibit.

“We didn’t want to make it a House Industries trade show,” says Roat. “We wanted there to be a message. We wanted to draw a map of our creative thinking and the exhibit demonstrates how we got from one idea, one influence, to another.”

House Industries, based in Yorklyn, is recognized for designing eclectic fonts that are used worldwide. Clients have included Jimmy Kimmel, The New Yorker and the Estate of Charles and Ray Eames.

“A Type of Learning” demonstrates how childhood interests in drawing inspired Roat, Cruz and Co. Their influences—such as hot rod legend Ed “Big Daddy” Roth—take center stage. Roth’s futuristic Mysterion show car is on display, along with daredevil Evel Knievel’s suit from the Snake River Canyon jump.

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Mich., has been called “a sort of Disneyland for history buffs, fans of technology, and design enthusiasts.” Its collection spans 300 years of American history and attracts more than 1.7 million visitors each year.

“[House] sort of tapped into their inspirations, the things that provoked them and still kind of tickled their funny bone,” says curator Marc Greuther. “It crackles with their enthusiasm. They’re still kind of geeked out about this stuff and I think that’s part of the charm.”

The exhibit, complemented by a book called “House Industries: The Process is the Inspiration”—runs through Sept. 4, but could next appear at a local venue.

“I’ve seen the last 26 years of my life in three dimensions. There’s something really powerful about it,” says Roat. “It could turn into something big for us, but that’s not why we did it.”

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