About the Prudential Logotype
(Music playing) You know I?m often asked, what out of all the things you?ve done, what do you like best? What are you most proud of? And I say, ?Well, I?m really proud what I did for Prudential.? And yet people look at it, and they say, ?But it?s sort of plain. What is it that you?ve done that makes you like it so much?" So John March was a former student of mine, and said, ?I?m now creative director for the identity program for Prudential," and he sent me this copy.
"We?ve been using this Helvetica for, oh, about 15 years and we'd like to change it." The initial request was to design the word ?Prudential? so it was a friendly word. He wanted to strongly relate to a font, but more tightly spaced than a normal text face and a little bit bolder. So the Century Bold was favored and also the Times Roman Bold was a favorite and the Century 725.
And I did 12 versions of these. I did them all in pencil. We finally wound up with the one here at the bottom, which is a condensed Century. All throughout the whole program, they stressed the fact they wanted the word to look friendly. They kept saying friendly. Well, one of the reasons I sort of focused on the Century is because if you went to school in this country, you first learned to read with the Century Schoolbook.
The familiarity makes it comfortable. It?s not the forms themselves or the shapes, it?s the fact that we have seen Century for 100 years. We learn to read with it. That?s what makes it friendly. And what I've done, I've redrawn it, and my drawing is on the top and here's the actual typeface. I have, as you can see, I have changed, I have softened the tail here so that it doesn't take up so much room, and I've also condensed the P so we can get it a little closer so we don?t have a big hole there.
And what I did also, to make the T read faster, I made it taller. I'll also raised the-- this is the dot of the I. It is called the tittle. And I raisee that up a little bit. Because I thought it was too close to the actual stem there. Legibility is an extremely critical element in any logo design. It?s one of the things I harp on. When we read, we read the top of the word.
We scan the top of a line of type. They wanted the word to be as legible as possible, and so I showed them this to explain that we do read the top of word. Whereas the bottom of the word here is not legible. You can read the top but you can't read the bottom. So everything is spaced from the top. And then here is what we started with, and then I extended it 5% then 10%, and then 10 units, and finally, 15 units, which they thought was wonderful.
After I had done the logo, they said they would like a font. So I developed just this font, caps and lowercase, with a minimum of a amount of punctuation. And I compared it to the Century Book and Century Bold, so it falls in between, in weight and also in proportion and in spacing. So I truly like what I've done. I have redrawn the Century to my liking, for one thing, and it satisfies the goal of many text faces where no one letters stands out, so that you read it easily without stopping.
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