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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. lynda.com 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.
Nik Hafermass> As a civilization we always pride ourselves how much knowledge and data we gain everyday and sometimes we lose sight of how much we actually lose when someone goes away from us. So a very heartfelt thank you to Lynda and Bruce, to David and Scott for this treasure, this amazing moving beautiful piece you did. Thank you very much.
(Applause) And now it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you our big boss, our President Lorne Buchman to share some of his thoughts. Lorne. Lorne Buchman> Thank you, Nik. Let me add my thanks and my appreciation to Lynda and Bruce and Scott and David for a beautiful, beautiful film. Your timing was exquisite. The fact that we had this captured, this wonderful story, this great footage of such an extraordinary man, such an extraordinary leader, teacher, colleague, student, the wisdom that is embedded in this film of a man who just understood something on the deepest level, it moves me to see it.
Doyald Young epitomized what we talk about as the great teacher at Art Center, and that is that working professional that he himself refers to, Tink Adams, wanting from the very beginning, with a kind of sense of rigor, of excellence, of pushing, of discipline, of understanding, together with a huge heart, a sense of incredible compassion, a sense of appreciation for how people can grow as they learn and as they create beautiful things.
Doyald Young epitomized that. The great honor that I had personally to participate last December in the graduation ceremonies in which we awarded Doyald, not only with a Lifetime Achievement, Alumni Achievement Award, but also with, and I loved the humor and irony in this, Doctor of Humane Letters. And so in the spirit of what we can do as a community really to kind of continue all that he inspired, and all that he represented, and all that he was so passionate about, I am delighted to announce today that we are establishing immediately the Doyald Young Memorial Scholarship.
And this is a way in which we can give opportunity for students in the spirit of what Doyald taught and who he was, the people who have the kind of exceptional talent, who are interested in mastering those skills that Doyald so beautifully -- he carried himself in such powerful ways, but also that he gave with such generosity. Today we are establishing this scholarship in his name, in his honor, as a way to continue the spirit of who he was and to ensure that students in the future are able to benefit, to focus, and to learn the kinds of things that Doyald cared so much about.
So Polinsia (ph) is here and she can help us-- help any of you and talk to you about some of the logistics of the scholarship, but it was my great honor today to announce this scholarship and to let you know that there is an opportunity for us to continue Doyald's legacy through this scholarship and through this vehicle and to ensure that education, and learning, and discipline, and beautiful curves, and beautiful letters continue on in his spirit.
Thank you very much. Jill Bell> I am originally from L.A. or I wouldn't know Doyald. I moved to Canada about five years ago and met Doyald about a decade ago. I have here the top ten things that I learned from Doyald. Number 1 is be yourself, and if you aren't who you want to be, create yourself! With vision, will, and a little good taste, you will turn out like Doyald did. Number 2, schmooze, schmooze, schmooze.
You can never have too many friends and colleagues, and he gave to the people and he got back to them. It was such a wonderful relationship to have Doyald as a good friend. He sort of exemplifies, if you want to have a friend, be a good friend. Number 3, in order to be heard, listen. And I loved talking to Doyald on the phone, because I always knew it was like 50-50 thing, that he was genuinely interested in me, and that he was also going to tell me about himself and what was up and recommend movies and books, and it always just felt really just wonderful and balanced to talk to him.
Number 4, take risks. Become an author, publish books, go on a 40-50 city tour when you are in your 70s and 80s. It was amazing! He genuinely just put himself out there. Number 5, guard your speech, but don't hide your true opinion. He had the best way of making it just really gentle and nice and then giving you a little wallop in what he was saying.
And I always wished I get it, because I just kind of wallop. I don't give any nice! Number 6, anything worth doing is worth doing absolutely, positively, exceedingly, painstakingly perfect. Number 7, be a perpetual student, and I think that's part of what made him a good teacher, because he embraced new technology. None of these things were ever easy. He embraced new styles of lettering as they came along, not that he incorporated them into himself, but he acknowledged them and welcomed them, and new people, like Marian and myself.
Number 8, if you give love and respect and gratitude, you're going to get it back, and I think that Doyald really treated me with a lot of respect, even though we were really different, and he always treated his life and talked about his life with just the utmost gratitude. He was so grateful for the place that his life was in, for his beautiful home, and where he lived, and for being able to teach at Art Center is his 80s, and for all the love in his life.
He was a very grateful person. Number 9 that I learned from Doyald is never retire. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. I hope that when I go that I have as many reasons to live as he did. I have as many projects still in process, and just want to live life to the fullest like he did. And number 10 is always eat dessert, because life is just too damn short.
Nils Lindstrom> Aside from the fact that Doyald and I both had a love of letters, we had some other things in common. We were both left handed, which Doyald by the way considered to be a liability, and we both came from very unlikely backgrounds to be teaching at Art Center. It was impossible not to like Doyald. And I have tried not to like him. I mean, there was so much to dislike about him, and I counted four things. Number 1, he was more talented than me, and he never rubbed it in.
On the contrary, he made -- in spite of the fact that he made most of us look mediocre, he was constantly finding opportunities to support and encourage and validate my work as a designer and a teacher. I'll never forget when he called me and asked if I would accept the AIGA Fellowship Award a few years back on his behalf because he had a conflicting engagement, and I said, Doyald, surely you are scraping the bottom of the barrel, and he assured me he was not.
But there was another reason to dislike Doyald, and that was that he was too generous. He constantly treated me to lunches and he insisted on paying me for subbing for his classes. I will never forget the time he took me to lunch at the Langham Huntington Hotel. It had to be the Langham Huntington, it had to be a nice hotel, and sitting there with him and Jim and he began to complain about the size of the columns.
They were too fat for the portico, and the ballastrading was too close together for the cap rails and the base rails. In addition to that, the lights were too far away from the French doors. It was pompous he said. While walking back to the parking lot through the long halls of the Langham Huntington, he was staring at his feet, or at least I thought he was, until he said in disgust, "Oh, the curves on this carpet are atrocious." It was then I realized that Doyald was beyond therapy.
And the third reason to dislike Doyald was that he was way too popular. At all the Art Center faculty meetings it was a fight to see who got to sit at Doyald's table. It was so disgusting. The way he engaged you in conversation, he would look right at you and fold his hands together like this and listen and hang onto every word you said. He made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. I hated that about him.
And I don't know why he liked me, but he called me often and we would talk on the phone like two 16-year-old girls. He would wind up every conversation by saying, "So there you are." And you knew you were done. It's futile to dislike a person who is so genteel and inclusive like that. But the fourth reason to dislike Doyald is that he never forgot names and dates and people.
I forget my students' names after one semester. I remember two Christmases ago we invited Doyald and his partner to our home as dinner guests. And I was anxious to see how Doyald would handle socializing with my, relatively speaking, very large Mormon family of five children, three spouses, and four grandkids. It was a piece of cake for him. He remembered most of their names through just conversations we'd had over the past ten years.
He quickly established a connection with every member at the dinner table. Even the babies behaved as if they were mesmerized by the art of this man. My personal faith leads me to believe and have every expectation that I will see Doyald again. And when I do I already know what he will say to me when he sees me, "Well, Nils, so there you are." Only it will be the beginning of a new conversation and not the end of an old one.
And I will embrace him as a true friend and whisper in his ear, "Oh, I hate you." And he'll laugh at me for the liar that I am. Thank you very much. Bruce Heavin> I'm just going to tell a brief story of Doyald and why I thought he was going to be great to do a film about. I went to an Art Center lunch in Manhattan while Lynda was working with the AIG to do a documentary. I think you were interviewing several people, including Doyald.
But Doyald was at the Art Center lunch and we went to a little Italian restaurant. And when he spoke it was like gems just poured out of his mouth. He was very quiet, but when he spoke he just had this amazing cadence. He just said the most poignant things, and I couldn't believe them. And he was always so polite. And this is my first introduction. I didn't even know I was going to meet him. So I was just mesmerized by him. But it wasn't until we had a taxi ride home and I've never been-- I've always loved typography, but I'm not a typographer. I'm an illustrator.
And that day I was reading about IKEA, that IKEA decided to change all their fonts to Verdana, because they didn't have to pay for them. They were a free font that Microsoft offered. And I asked Doyald, what do you think of this? And he went from this nice man to something I did not expect. He exploded in the taxicab and he had a passion that I just -- that just came out of nowhere.
And he was angry and upset, but he wasn't offsetting. I was like, this is cool, because I saw a passion in this guy behind what he did unlike you'd ever see someone do in a nice setting. He was just adamant and he started shouting out, "Verdana is a web font, it's good for the screen, it's not good for a 40-foot name of IKEA on a wall." "Bell is a font for phonebooks; it's meant to be read small." And he just went off on it.
I mean, he went off for about ten minutes as we drove back to the Waldorf Astoria. And I went back to Lynda and I said, I think we need to do something on Doyald. I don't even know what his work looks like, I've never seen it, but this guy has a fire in him. I mean, he was literally on fire. I could tell. And then that evening he got his award with the AIGA, and I just think of that, and later my own staff asked me, they go, I don't know if we should do a documentary on Doyald.
I said we have to. And they said, no, there is a new person, it's the new Doyald Young. And I said, I don't want the new Doyald Young. I want Doyald Young. Lynda Weinman> And at Lynda.com we have a lot of instructional videos and typically when people make these videos we pay them royalties based on the popularities of their views, and when we do documentaries we don't pay these royalties, but we have a mechanism to pay royalties. So in honor of the new Scholarship Fund we've turned the royalty process on for this documentary, and all of the royalties that it earns will go towards his Scholarship Fund, so we're really excited to be able to contribute to that.
It was a great honor to profile him. One of the neat things about having the documentary online is that we get to share it with so many people outside the walls of Art Center, and that's a really a beautiful thing. So wonderful to share his incredible spirit with so many. Thank you so much. Marian Bantjes> When I found out that I was going to be the last speaker this evening I decided that instead of my words that maybe it will be a good idea to have Doyald's words.
So I went through a few years of emails and pulled out just some random-- well, not so random paragraphs of things that he sent to me over the years, and here we go. Dear Marian, I tried calling you, but didn't leave a note. Or did I? Mainly to say in person how much I liked what you had written. I hope I never have to prove your description of my pencil skills. I get rusty from not doing it day in and day out. Today I've been drawing the formal scripts caps in pencil for my new book.
They are 3/16th so I can get more detail for a Fontlab template and I'll probably redraw. The detail is not bad. This depends greatly on my old failing Pierce electric pencil pointer and I have resorted to a sand pad. The pointer is no longer available and I must try to find parts on eBay. Such small details tend to be critical. Tuesday night was the big night. The rain kept some folks away though there was an adequate crowd, quiet, unresponsive, but loud lingering applause.
I didn't think I did a good job, but everyone else thought it was great. I asked for questions. I got one. Ready? "Are you rich?" Ho-hum! I arrived in New York in 1942, 15 years old, a runaway, a green kid from the boonies, Orange, Texas, and got a job at Radio City Music Hall as an usher, at the top of the stairs in the loge section. I stood motionless in tight black pants, a white short Eisenhower jacket, and white bowtie and said to every approaching guest, "Loge is to your right please, loge is to your right please." I rode in the elevators with snooty Rockettes and was thrilled by the experience and was paid $20 a week.
I have tidied up a couple of inflammatory sentences in my original letter to you. Do me a favor and trash it. My vision is often clouded and confused, what looks good one day is lousy the next. I fretted about the C T combo, the tightness at the top, yet the C requires a wider baseline turn to join at the same angle and height as the other letters.
I worry at times about consistent characteristics, unnecessarily so at times. Some rules should be chucked. I'm redrawing the C from my attached comments, which you may not agree with. P.S. for your amusement I've attached a couple of horrors, one from Bitstream. I am neurotic about my work. I fuss over it. So do forgive any of my unforeseen gotchas and enjoy the fonts. They are blood filled, cloaked in anxiety, and despite all of that I can say with some lack of modesty that I am proud of them.
I have never wanted to be a stern guardian, though my great teacher, Mort Leach, criticizes my work constantly and he died in 1968, and of course will always be with me. Much lov,e Doyald. And as to that last one I can say the same is that, whenever I draw, Doyald has been and will always be with me. Thanks!
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