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Doyald Young, Logotype Designer

Books, words, & ideas


Doyald Young, Logotype Designer

with Doyald Young

Video: Books, words, & ideas

(Music playing) I love writing books. It?s like a great challenge. I care a great deal. I want to book to be beautiful. This book took 5 and a half years to do. There?s 470 fonts in it. And I?m writing a new book.

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Doyald Young, Logotype Designer
1h 41m Appropriate for all Oct 29, 2010 Updated Sep 29, 2011

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From humble beginnings in a small Texas town eight decades ago comes legendary typographer, logotype designer, author, and teacher Doyald Young. As elegant as his script fonts and as wise as his set of Oxford English dictionaries, Young set the standard for his craft. Friend and designer Stefan Bucher describes Young as "someone who could easily have done what he does in the Renaissance, and could easily do it 300 years from now." In this installment of Creative Inspirations, we enjoy a window into the life of this accomplished artisan as he works with joyous focus in his favorite spot, his drawing table. We follow Young to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he shares his talents with tomorrow's designers. He recalls the hundreds of iterations he went through in creating the logo for Prudential, and he puts pencil to tissue creating the pages for his book about script lettering, Learning Curves. Young's story is compelling, captivating, and most of all, inspiring. is honored to host this tribute to his work.

Join us in Bonus Features at a tribute event held at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where Doyald's friends and colleagues speak about their relationship with the gifted designer and Lynda introduces a scholarship fund set up specifically in his memory.

Design Typography Creative Inspirations Documentaries
Doyald Young

Books, words, & ideas

(Music playing) I love writing books. It?s like a great challenge. I care a great deal. I want to book to be beautiful. This book took 5 and a half years to do. There?s 470 fonts in it. And I?m writing a new book. The font that I?ve designed, Young Gallant, anchors the book because what I want to do is to explain to students, beginning students, the basics of formal script. For teachers, for students, for graphic designers to somehow look at all these variations, to get ideas if they're trying to design a script logo, and remember that script is one most commonly used fonts.

Look at all the use of script in wine labels. Any place where luxury is called for, anything that is refined, oftentimes calls for a graceful statement of formal script. I learned formal script from Mort Leach. He had some sheets, lettering sheets that he passed out to the class. And then when I started to teach, I used those same sheets to teach formal script. I?ve used those for almost 40 years, and I have modified Mort?s original drawings.

It's what I call a basic bare-bones minimal font. It's as simple as I can draw it. What I hope with the book is to show possible variations of these basic letters. Once you make a student draw this exactly, draw this exactly, this is exactly what I want, you pound that into them to the point where they can?t think of anything else when you say design a logo -- now that I want some variation.

So I?m showing on the right hand page, this is the same size pencil tissue that I?ve drawn. What I?m showing is the change of these terminals. Here?s a slightly lighter one. Here?s a teardrop that's not bracketed. Here is a circle with a lot of white space that rolls around it. Here?s one that is spreads like the endings of a capital letters. And then here?s one with the little loop that you will also find in my font called Young Baroque.

And here is something a little more flossy. It's the initial letter, where you want a decorative statement. And you don't want a large capital. The lowercase E, in this case, I show a decorative form which we call Gravura. Here is a terminal. This can be used in the middle of the word, and here?s one that is a capital letter in shape. I?ve drawn very carefully so it matches the E in the Campbell Soup logo.

In this case, there?s 7 of these here. There are many many more variations. Remember that there have been many cases where your birth certificate is informal script, where you?re coming of age is announced in formal script, or your graduation is announced in formal script. And oftentimes at the end of your life, your passing, is noted in formal script.

It permeates our lives. This is my Webster?s Unabridged Library edition. It was given to me on my birthday and it came with a brown buckram cover, and it had some leather on the back and it was one of the most homely binding I?ve ever seen. On top of that when I opened it up, it was over-inked. So I call Webster's and I said the book is over-inked and can you replace it for for me? He says, "Well, tear off the covers and send it to me and I?ll give you the new guts.? So he sent me the new guts, and then I had this binding done.

And then I used Cockerell paper on it. This is a English paper. What they do is they take a streak of ink this way, red ink, tan ink, black ink and then they take little pins and they pull the ink to create this wonderful design. It?s all hand done. Gorgeous gorgeous cockerel paper. And one day, I was looking up a word, I was on page 248 and then all the sudden on the opposite page was 253.

A signature was missing. After I spent $300 on the binding. And I never told them about it. And I often wondered what's in those missing pages. Not only do I love letters, I love words. Somehow at the age of 50, I realized that my speech that I was using words I think correctly, that I had a vague idea of what they meant.

Because I think I have a good ear for language. And I then decided that I would look up the word just to make certain that I was using it correctly. And I realized finally that there were a lot of words that I didn?t know the meaning of it. Here are just common ordinary words. You'd be amazed at the words we use, that if you asked the average person to define that word, it?s difficult. He says, ?Now, Doyald" -- and he's from Texas. He says, "Now, Doyald, you should not use big words, because people won't trust you.? Well, we need to speak simply and clearly and accurately.

If you do use a big word, define it. It's okay. One of the words I love is desuetude and I ran across the word in the Alexandria Quartet, written by Lawrence Durrel. And I looked it up and it means old and derelict and unattended. Desuetude, it comes straight from the Latin. Well, I love of the sound of it and it has a precise meaning. So there's some words like nostalgia.

We use nostalgia these days meaning something that reminds us of something else. That's nostalgic. The original meaning of it is home sickness. Well, I think if we get back to the original meaning of the words, its word root, oftentimes from the Latin, that we get a better understanding of the word. Another word, here I?ve drawn formal script all my life and I never heard of the word ductus.

And this French man used it, but ductus is a Latin word. It means to lead. That hairline that joins to the next letter is ductus meaning it leads into the next letter. Well, I like words like that. Words that define what you?re doing.

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