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50 years of the Doctor Who logo

50 years of the Doctor Who logo

Happy Anniversary Doctor! I’m very excited about Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary this weekend, I’m a big fan (my favourite, and I believe the quintessential Doctor, is the one I grew up with, Tom Baker). Anyway, I thought I’d kick-start the anniversary weekend and celebrate by exploring how the Doctor Who logo has changed over the 50 years and 11 Doctors. This post isn’t intended to be a real in-depth look at any social, economic etc factors that informed the time and hence the logo, but more of a light-hearted look at its evolution.

Doctor Who logo 1

Logo One 1963-1967 – First Doctor William Hartnell and some of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton

Logo One 1963-1967 – First Doctor William Hartnell and some of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton

Very simple first logo in a white sans serif typeface. ‘Who’ is given stronger prominence due to the shortness of the word and the condensed characters when balanced out to ‘Doctor’, this gives it some visual punch.

Doctor Who Logo 2

Logo Two 1967–1969 – Second Doctor Patrick Troughton

Logo Two 1967–1969 – Second Doctor Patrick Troughton

The second logo is also very simple and still white, the only change being to the serif typeface Times New Roman. The balance is much more equal and consequently has less visual punch. I have to say it’s not the most exciting I have ever seen.

Doctor Who logo 3

Logo Three 1970–1973 – Third Doctor Jon Pertwee

Logo Three 1970–1973 – Third Doctor Jon Pertwee

This is the first time the logo is not only in colour, but has been specifically designed as a logotype in its own right. Maybe there was a realisation at this point that the Doctor was here to stay so a more conscious effort was put into its design. There are already allusions to sci-fi here in the shapes of the letterforms (notably the D and the H), which are also quite chunky, and says to me that it’s making a statement of its intention to stick around.

Doctor Who logo 4

Logo Four 1973–1980 – Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, but introduced during Third Doctor Jon Pertwee

Logo Four 1973–1980 – Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, but introduced during Third Doctor Jon Pertwee

This is, according to the Doctor Who Wiki, known as the “diamond logo”. To me, it actually screams a lot of Art Deco! This is predominantly from the diamond motif, which is the first time elements other than letterforms are introduced to the design. A little gradient has also been included, again alluding to sheen and metal of sci-fi. It is a little cartoon-like to me, kind of young at heart, and very elaborate compared to what’s gone before. It’s like a badge / emblem.

Doctor Who logo 5

Logo Five 1980–1984 – Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, but introduced during Fourth Doctor Tom Baker

Logo Five 1980–1984 – Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, but introduced during Fourth Doctor Tom Baker

A radical change here as we enter the 1980s, and we see something that typically defines this period – neon. This one really uses the idea of neon tube light, all the letters connected together with the cool idea of the tail / leg of the R then continuing round to encircle the word ‘Who’. There are also little ‘shine lines’ added to each letter.

Doctor Who logo 6

Logo Six 1984-1986 – Sixth Doctor Colin Baker

Logo Six 1984-1986 – Sixth Doctor Colin Baker

This is only a slight update on the previous logo, with two small changes; it is a little curved, and the colour is now purple.

Doctor Who logo 7

Logo Seven 1987–1989 – Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy

Logo Seven 1987–1989 – Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy

Another radical change (and could be said an unwelcome one?). This is the first here to use more than one colour. This is a really unbalanced logo in my eyes, and the word ‘Doctor’ in a type of hand-lettering, is really separated from the ‘Who’, which has been given that real sci-fi type gradient again, with the addition of a glow from behind. They just don’t go together very well. Were budget’s being cut at this point? The show was to go off-air for many years after Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor. Or is it a symptom of the postmodern trend to pick and mix?

Doctor Who logo 8

Logo Eight 1996 – Eighth Doctor Paul McGann (Doctor Who: The TV Movie)

Logo Eight 1996 – Eighth Doctor Paul McGann (Doctor Who: The TV Movie)

I suppose they wanted a logo quickly for this one-off TV film one, it’s a modified version of Logo Three, with some added 3D depth and gradient. The C, T and R also have slight alterations.

Doctor Who logo 9

Logo Nine 2005-2006 – Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston and early Tenth Doctor David Tennant

Logo Nine 2005-2006 – Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston and early Tenth Doctor David Tennant

This is one of the most significant changes in the evolution of the Doctor Who logo – the two words have been placed side by side instead of stacked one on top of the other. The letterforms are more of a simple condensed sans serif type again. There is not much to the logo itself, and much of the interest is created in the backdrop of wispy planetary ‘stuff’ and flares. Considering this was the comeback logo, it’s a very weak effort I think, due to the combination of the above points.

Docotr Who logo 10

Logo Ten 2006-2010 – Tenth Doctor David Tennant

Logo Ten 2006-2010 – Tenth Doctor David Tennant

Logo Nine has only been slightly updated here, with rearranged flares, and the addition of a dot between the two words.

Doctor Who logo 11

Logo Eleven 2010-2011 – Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith

Logo Eleven 2010-2011 – Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith

Another significant change here – the addition of a motif between the two words, constructed of DW, to form a Tardis. According to the Doctor Who Wiki, there has been a backlash from fans that do not like that the name has been split into two by the inclusion of this. Again there is a metallic gradient, and an interesting shape to the R where its bar has been removed. It’s quite square and a much more masculine / weighty I think.

Doctor Who logo 12

Logo Twelve 2011-2012 – Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith

Logo Twelve 2011-2012 – Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith

Just a small update to the previous logo; the Tardis lamp has been turned into a flare, resulting in a colour change from the light source.

Doctor Who logo 13

Logo Thirteen from 2012 – Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith

Logo Thirteen from 2012 – Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith

Logos Eleven and Twelve have been updated again, this time with the removal of the DW tardis. There are little changes to this one more frequently now, each year during Matt Smith’s time as the Eleventh Doctor.

So there we are. And no doubt a new logo will be devised for Peter Capaldi’s new Twelfth Doctor this Christmas.

My favourite? I think it’s actually a tie for me, I just cannot choose between Logo Four and Logo Five. But I do certainly prefer the words stacked rather than side by side, they just look more cohesive and striking.

So which logo is your favourite? Which do you think sums up the Doctor the best? Or does each different logo sum up a different Doctor? Let me know your thoughts below.

***Thanks to the great information at the Doctor Who Wiki at http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Doctor_Who_Wiki, tonnes of great information about everything Doctor Who there!

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