Doyald Young

I have been lucky to be able to get Doyald Young's two larger tomes "Logos and Fonts" and "Logotypes and Letterforms" from my Library. Hooray for Interlibrary loan! I have enjoyed reading about his fights with spacing issues such as when a logo includes an All Cap "LA" Combination. He sensibly shortens the lower bar of the L. He also explains that it was for even color that he loses the pot hook on top of the "i" in a script "riu" combination. And he extends the lower bar of a "z" with a swash to fill the void of a "v" in "rendezvous". These adjustments are all in logos meant to catch the eye, although each of these adds some optical evenness to the designs as well. I think these books might be instructive for Opentype display type makers with a mind to make contextual alternates, or maybe with some special care - Opentype text face makers as well.


I have read only "Fonts and Logos," which I also own. It's one of the books I've learned most from about type.

As to adjusting letter pairs in text type: It is a good idea, but the problem for a font, as opposed to a logo, is that there is no end to it. So it is hard to know where to start and stop, beyond using open type to rectify 'f' problems, such as has been discussed recently in another thread.

The lesson I took away from Young for text type is the importance of getting the letter forms themselves right, so that they color well in context of all--well almost all!--the other letters.

I work for a company with two cap As in the name.

: (

I work for a company with two cap As in the name.

Depending on the font chosen that might be okay... But I am guessing Doyald would make an AA ligature.

Bill, you are I think, spot on where Doyald's sense is as far as fonts and special cases. But then there was no Open type when he wrote these books. It's time to question the tradition. Maybe it will hold up. Maybe it won't. But Doyald insights do ( I think ) show us some opportunities for where we might begin that questioning process.

Also, based on my own experiments so far, the list of combinations that we might consider seriously isn't infinite. It's somewhat daunting, but by no means undoable. And it offers yet another chance to increase quality by letting the eye settle things. Supposing that I could show you a list of say 16 situations and offer a compelling justification for making a contextual alternative for each one. Would you consider implementing it? If this were the case, it would be a smaller job than doing even a single optical size. No?

Eben, I ordered the two books a couple of days ago and your comments are much appreciated. I’m looking forward very much to reading Doyald’s insights.

I'm sensing an interlibrary-loan run on Young's books...

Antonio, I am glad you found it helpful!

My take is pretty narrow as reported. I am reading the books with a specific purpose - which wasn't (I am nearly sure) his in writing them.

But outside of my own purpose I am also curious to hear what everybody thinks in general. I had heard some big praise so I had to check them out. I will also admit that while I think his stuff is amazingly strong, the aesthetic he works in isn't my favorite. It's very interesting seeing these styles being done well. I think his stuff was imitated poorly for years.

>Supposing that I could show you a list of say 16 situations and offer a compelling justification for making a contextual alternative for each one. Would you consider implementing it?

Some fonts don't even require f ligatures, so I think I think that the benefit of contextual alternatives would depend on the style of the font. In general, I think lower case to lower case should require relatively little kerning, if the letters are well designed. Also I favor a style with slightly looser letter spacing than in many fonts, so again that reduces the likely benefit of contextual alternatives in the lower case.

For other cases, where it will make a difference, I'm yet to be convinced that it will make a big enough difference in text to undertake the initiative and put in the work, aside from the 'f' issues. But I'm willing to be persuaded by examples you or others may post.

Bill, you are right that wider spacing begins to obviate the need or value of a contextual alternative. I will not be posting the list just yet. But I will show you them in Buffalo I hope. I am not sure I will convince you or anyone. But I will make the best case I have then. I was asking a theoretical question in order to sound out the limits of your potential interest.

I just noticed that Doyald Young has released a new Typeface "Young Finesse".

Antonio, did you get the books? What are you impressions?

Not yet Eben. Doyald wrote me (himself, very kind!) that they will be mailed priority either on the 4th or on the 7th morning. Unfortunately I just had a bad experience with stuff being sent priority from the USA. I ordered Masters of the Italic Letter by Kathryn A. Atkins from AbeBooks. The ordered was handled by a book shop in New York, but despite ordering it with priority shipping on the 9th of October I only got it last week. The combination of the holiday season and the crappy Italian postage system got in the way, I guess. So I fear it might take a while before I can actually get Doyald Young’s books.

It's going to be a heavy package when it does get there!

I am still taking notes.

Eben: I just got the books, the package was indeed quite heavy! I’ll let you know as soon as I have a chance to read them.


I am about to have to return the ones I have to the Library. Time to scan the stuff I want to refer back to; or show in discussions!