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As a long-time member of AIGA and newly elected member of its national board of directors, lynda.com founder Lynda Weinman was invited to attend the organization's annual design awards gala in New York City last fall. A few days before the event, she spent some time getting to know some of the AIGA’s key members and touring the organization's offices and archives.
Lynda's journey introduces us to the professional association for design, through the eyes of some of the most talented and influential designers of our time. Lynda visits AIGA's National Design Center on Fifth Avenue, home to the breathtaking design archives (dating back to the 1920's) as well as this year's premiere of 365: AIGA's Annual Design Exhibition. She also touches down at New York's School of Visual Arts and at Sterling Brands, the largest brand consultancy in the country, located in the Empire State building. Those interviewed include executive director Ric Grefé, national AIGA president Debbie Millman, former president Sean Adams, and editor Steven Heller from Voice: AIGA’s Journal of Design.
Lynda Weinman: So Doyland, I'm so glad that you could join us, and congratulations on being honored tonight at the AIGA Gala and being a medalist. Doyland Young: Thank you very much! Lynda: Could you introduce yourself to our audience? Doyland: Well, I'm a teacher at Art Center. I have been since 1955. Tink Adams hired me, the founder of the school. Lynda: Wow! Doyland: I taught there until 1978 when I took a hiatus and did a lot of work for Japan. I came back in 1997 and have been there off and on ever since.
Also in the meantime, I started writing books in 1990. My first book was called Logotypes & Letterforms where I have 169 of my logos in it. Once I got through with that, I started writing a new one called Fonts & Logos, which is all about typography, 75% typography. What a letter truly is and how it's shaped. Then once I got through with that, I started writing another one, which is called Dangerous Curves is my latest book.
Lynda: It's a great title. Doyland: And it's now sold in 30 different countries. So I'm delighted about that, and also during that time, an old friend, Tim Needham of SMART Papers, said, Doyland, would you like to do a book for us with your work in it? And he said there are about 40 pages from both of your books. It turned out to be 90 pages, and it's the world's most fancy book. It's printed on outer edge folded sheets.
It's got six colors of foil in it, four colors of engraving, three colors of litho, three blind-embossed images, and there is nine divided pages, and it comes boxed, and we gave it away to 37 events of AIGA all over the country, a tour that I did. So that's what I do. Lynda: Ah. So you've been involved with AIGA before? Doyland: Yes, probably for 10-12 years. Lynda: What does AIGA mean to you? Doyland: Well, AIGA really has great focus on education, and it's a great aid for students, for teachers, for designers, and for the business world at large.
Lynda: With everything moving into the digital age so rapidly, a lot of this is becoming a lost art, but how do you think that people in the future will have an appreciation for the art and craft of type design? Doyland: Someone must draw a font to begin with. It all starts with drawing, no matter how you draw it, whether it's with the pencil or with the cursor. But before you do that, don't you have to have some understanding of what the letter form is and what a font does? Lynda: You would think.
Doyland: Yes, so you have to bring that knowledge to a font design program. Hermann Zapf, my great hero, says, spend 600 hours on the board then go to your computer. Lynda: Wow! Doyland: I think that I am blessed that I can draw a letter quickly and then scan it and then digitize it. Did you ever start trying to digitize a letter without a drawing? It takes a lot of time to do all of that. Lynda: To clean it up. Doyland: Yes, of course.
Lynda: Are there any other resources that you would recommend to up and coming type designers or people interested in learning more about type? Doyland: Well, there's always the history of type. There is the great classic one, which is written by Daniel Berkeley Updike in 1923, and it's called Type Forms, Their History and Usage. And it's a two volume book, and it's really the history of classical types. That gives you really a great background.
Nothing is original these days. It's all been done before, and what we are really doing is redrawing the past with our aesthetic applied to it. Lynda: Well, it is indeed an honor to get to meet you, and I'm so grateful that you came and spoke with us and congratulations again. Doyland: Well, thank you very much. Okay.
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