Davida Font and NDQ

One of the most enduring and perhaps endearing characteristics of North Dakota Quarterly has been its use of Davida font in its iconic logo “NDQ”:




The fonts used on the NDQ title page and masthead have not changed frequently. The first series of the journal used an attractive old style serifed font featuring a “Q” with an absolutely fantastic (but not overwrought) tail.

1933  Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust D 2018 10 10 05 49 25

The Quarterly had a hiatus between 1932 and 1956 and when it reappeared, it subtly marked this hiatus by changing its masthead. From 1956-1967, the North Dakota Quarterly cover featured the Romantic Bodoni font. The use of the Bodoni Condensed on the masthead on the inside page of journal was a nice allusion to the journal’s hiatus. Bodoni Condensed was introduced in 1933 as a useful addition to the American Type Founders extensive line-up of Bodoni style fonts. 

North Dakota quarterly v 25 no 1 1957  Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library 2018 10 10 05 58 21

North Dakota quarterly v 24 no 2 1956  Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library 2018 10 10 05 48 14

North Dakota quarterly v 29 35 1961 1967  Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library 2018 10 10 05 47 06

When Robert Wilkins took over as editor of the Quarterly in 1968, he introduced the now iconic NDQ logo in Davida font. Davida was designed by Louis Minott and introduced in 1965. The font had some currency in the late 1960s and early 1970s, appearing in a wide range of contexts. It was pretty popular for album cover art, appearing on Neil Diamond’s single “Solitary Man/Cherry Cherry” (1970) and the T. Rex single “By the Light of the Magical Moon” (1970) as well as on James Brown’s 1970 album Ain’t it Funky. In the publishing world, it appeared on the cover of the 1971 edition of Silvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and the cover of the revised 1971 edition of The Country Code in the U.K.  I wasn’t able to find the exact precedent that inspired Robert Wilkins to use this font, but there are enough funky, literary, and rustic examples to demonstrate that Davida was in the air.

A few months ago I floated the idea of changing up our logo, and even floated a few ideas. None of them met with any unconditional enthusiasm, and now I’m thinking that maybe keeping the Davida NDQ logo is just a good thing. I mean, if it’s good enough for The Godfather of Soul and The Country Code, maybe it’s just fine for NDQ.  

NDQuarterlyLogos 01

One Reply to “Davida Font and NDQ”

  1. Dave Gregory says:

    #5 is my second favourite. It is modern and edgey. #10 comes in third. It is clear concise and bold – but I’d still vote for leaving the old logo.

    Liked by 1 person

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