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  • Good morning, John. Last week after VidCon

  • I went to Disneyland and was reminded that, like most children of the '80s and '90 and probably even today,

  • I grew up knowing that this word was "Disney", but not really understanding why;

  • This is not a "D". And this isn't really a "Y". It's like "Gisnep".

  • Why? Well, John,

  • I had some coca-cola and opened way too many tabs on my browser and have done a lot of research.

  • I found this story to be very weird. So your first g- Wow my hair!

  • Your first guess is that it's Walt's signature, right?

  • and yet, here's Walt signing his name on an episode of "What's My Line?"

  • And that doesn't look familiar.

  • But it turns out that Walt Disney had lots of signatures. Some of them resemble the Disney logo,

  • Some of them do not, but none of them have a "D" anything like the loopy "D".

  • I can imagine this constant innovation on his signature in two ways:

  • It may be just another manifestation of his perfectionism,

  • which was well known, or it may be a man who was pretty obsessed with his own name.

  • But before we go any deeper into this,

  • we have to discuss something else very weird about the "Walt Disney Pictures" logo.

  • For almost 50 years there wasn't one. Every movie had a different treatment for the title card.

  • There was a Disney signature that with slight variations showed up repeatedly, originally not as a logo but as a signature after a statement thanking the staff in 1937's

  • "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves". That signature was last used as a title card in "The Rescuers", in 1977,

  • but it was never identical to a previous usage, making it decidedly not a logo.

  • The graphic design nerd in me feels like this must be an intentional choice because it was very

  • contrary to how every other movie studio was doing things.

  • It's almost as if Walt and the Walt Disney Company wanted there to be a perception that this was a person

  • presenting it, rather than a corporation.

  • So the name is the brand, not the branding. Here is a man you can trust to make children's content.

  • Savvy. After "The Rescuers", "the Fox and the Hound" used a nondescript serif font almost like a palate cleanser

  • before 1985's "the Black Cauldron" launched with the now familiar

  • loopy "D".

  • This was one year into Michael Eisner taking over as CEO and becoming the first person to run Disney

  • who was not a Disney family member.

  • Now, there are a number of Disney designs that look similar to this final incarnation that, I

  • imagine, will be in use until the universe ends. There's this from a 1950s Peter Pan board game,

  • which matches the Disney logo almost perfectly.

  • except for that "D"! And then there's this signature, an actual Walt signature that contains lots of the elements:

  • that W, the looping T, the big circle on the I, even the quick and intense return on the S, but that D though!

  • Where did it come from?

  • Well, the closest I could find is in the final end card of "The Aristocats" which came out in 1970.

  • Maybe importantly, this was the first movie Walt Disney Pictures released that Walt himself did not work on.

  • It's on the screen for like three seconds.

  • But it's clearly as close as we get to the loopy "D" before

  • the early 80s, when Disney launched its home video division using this familiar logo type as the title card,

  • but in the box art...

  • the loopy "D"! Soon that logo type with the Cinderella castle and shooting star would become the first

  • actual logo of Walt Disney Pictures.

  • So, somewhere, someone, behind the scenes, in the early 80s, decided to make that little "D" loop into a

  • big bold spiral. They pushed that so far that the first letter in one of the most iconic brands of all time

  • doesn't read clearly as a letter. Under Eisner's leadership, this clean and

  • playful logo type became the logo type for the entire studio, and then a Disney Channel, a Disney World and

  • the Disney Company as a whole.

  • And it's easy to make it read more clearly, as London-based illustrator Pencil Bandit made clear with these modified versions.

  • But that's not what they wanted. Almost all of this logo type was taken directly from one of Walt's many signatures

  • except for its most bold, iconic and confusing choice.

  • But because Disney is all about magic and magic can be lost when you find out how it's done,

  • we probably will never find out how this happened or who did it.

  • Maybe that's for the best. John, I'll see you on Tuesday

Good morning, John. Last week after VidCon

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Why is the Disney "D" So Weird?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/30
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