Fonts and Logos

Indices : Books : Fonts & Logos

By Doyald Young, published by his own Delphi Press. This lengthy, expensive, oversized analysis of commercial lettering and typeface design can be seen as both a sequel and a replacement for Young's earlier manual on the subject, Logotypes and Letterforms. It contains general typographic reference material, in-depth analyses of the special features of several classes of typeface, and an in-depth explanation of the creative process he used in revising the logo, logotype, and corporate identity of the Prudential Corporation.

Like the earlier book, Fonts & Logos is clearly a product of Young's own preferences: Hermann Zapf (under whom Young studied) and Morris Fuller Benton (and ATF) are benevolent sprits present in most of Young's work, and Young's joyous love of baroque scripts gets the better of him on more than one occasion. His design work can get a little fusty, although the many tight pencil and pen comps he includes as examples are marvelous to see. For a visual analysis of typeface construction and the process of logotype design, it is unequalled, and Young's voice is a friendly, inviting one, sharing rather than lecturing, descriptive rather than prescriptive.

His West Coast location has given him many opportunities to work throughout the Pacific Rim, and it's interesting to see how his conservative, wealthy Japanese clients have ended up using Western design idioms to signify elegance, wealth, and class. Also, being in Los Angeles has given Young many opportunities to work in television, and it's striking how much his work defined the look of television in the 70s and 80s. Here, too, though, some fussiness and camp begins to creep in, and so devotees of cutting-edge European minimalism will probably be somewhat put off by his rococo American style. However, his examples are all real examples developed for real clients, and there are many of them, so unlike just about every other book on logo design, this one leaves you with a solid idea of how the play of give and take works in real-world design.

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