Doctor Who is a science fiction television series produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation since 1963. It follows an alien’s adventures from the planet Gallifrey, who travels in time in the living TARDIS.
Meaning and History
More than ten versions of Doctor Who logos: fonts, styles, and palette change regularly with new series. The BBC owns all graphics and wordmarks.
1963 – 1967
The first logo appeared in 1963 when William Hartnell played the role of the Doctor. In the center is the title of the series in Grotesque One Three. Sans serif letters, transparent white. The word “Who” is stretched vertically. White spots are visible in the background, which shows through the inscription. The general background is black.
This emblem has been valid for four seasons. She also appears in the novels by Frederick Muller and in the Doctor Who Annual comic book. The updated version was used for the 50th anniversary special of The Day of the Doctor.
1967 – 1970
In The Macra Terror (Episode 5, Season 4), viewers first saw the second logo. The main changes were made to the inscription: its scale increased, although the proportions remained the same. Words have become less transparent. The letters now have serifs characteristic of the Times New Roman font. The background is blurry, white, and gray.
1970 – 1973
After Jon Pertwee appeared, the directors updated the logo. Massive inscriptions appeared in it – black, wide, bold. The grouping remains the same: “Doctor” and “Who” is located exactly, in two rows horizontally. The top word is smaller; the bottom word is larger to create a visual correspondence between them. At the same time, the designers changed the style of the letters: for “D” the front leg is cut off at an angle, for “C” the protruding parts are shortened, “T” is made in the shape of a hammer, “O” looks like a perfectly round donut, and for “N” there is an arched connecting crossbar. This version was used for several seasons – from the Spearhead from Space series to The Green Death.
1973 – 1980
In the final season of the Third Doctor, the “diamond logo” appeared. It got its unofficial name because of the blue rhombus located in the background of the inscription. The top of the geometric shape is slightly cutaway, which makes it look like a cut diamond. Also, there is a “non-diamond” version – without a diamond. The letters in the word “Doctor” are arranged in a semicircle within a curved rectangle. In the background, colored reflections are coming out of the center.
1980 – 1984
Peter Howell’s new interpretation of Doctor Who resulted in a redesigned logo. It is made in the style of signage from bent transparent tubes. Moreover, the inscription is connected, where each next element is connected to the previous one. The transition from the top stitch to the bottom stitch is designed as an inverted trapezoid. The second part of the name is highlighted with a bold outline of letters. All lines have duplicate strokes of different lengths.
1984 – 1987
In season 18, the series used a radically new logo. The lettering looks like it was lined with curved neon tubes. The background is a deep starry sky. At first, the words were colored light blue, but with the Sixth Doctor’s arrival (in season 22), the palette turned purple. In Season 23: The Collection, designers have replaced the night sky with the purple reflections of the Vortex of Time.
1987 – 1989
In episodes of the Seventh Doctor, the developers introduced a 3D emblem. “Who” is in a typeface with rounded corners. Color – gray metallic with a gradient. Red reflections are noticeable along the contour. The word “Doctor” looks like it was written by hand. Moreover, it is colored yellow and is located at an angle.
In 1996, the Doctor Who movie was released, and with it a new logo. The font is the same as in 1970. The letters “W,” “R,” “T,” “C” have been slightly changed. The text is bright blue with a gradient and sheen. The background depicts outer space with small stars.
2005 – 2010
The BBC marked the return of the series with another emblem. This time the inscription is horizontal and is located on a long flattened shield. The design changed throughout several episodes. All versions are similar in concept but differ in the color scheme. Mostly a yellow-red palette with green and black highlights prevails.
2010 – 2012
Series 5 logo consists of two parts. The first is the title of the television series. The second is the abbreviation “DW,” which is located between the words “Doctor” and “Who.” It symbolizes the TARDIS time machine. The background is red and yellow fog. In Episode 6, the BBC label appears below.
2012 – 2013
The “DW” badge was used separately from the main logo, so the designers removed it. All that remains is the phrase “Doctor Who” in a strict sans-serif typeface. The palette has been updated all the time – from red-gold to gray-metallic.
2014 – 2018
From episodes 8 to 10, the logo was bluish-gray. The lettering is the same as before – with highlights and a gradient. The font has hardly changed. This version occurs in 39 episodes, which is considered an absolute record.
In the episode Sleep No More (episode 9), a special emblem flashes on the screen, consisting of many words and numbers on a dark blue background. Among the text, the letters “D,” “O,” “C,” “T,” “O,” “R” and “W,” “H,” “O” are distinguished, which add up to the name of the series.
2018 – present
On February 20, 2018, the BBC announced the appearance of a new Doctor Who logo. Little Hawk Studio developed it. The inscription is originally stylized: the letters “D,” “H,” and “O” are decorated with thin horizontal lines. An exclusive font created specifically for the TV series. It belongs to the Gotham family of geometric grotesques. Above is the BBC sign. The background is spirally swirled clouds with a bright center, from which rays radiate in all directions. This is a Time Vortex leading to other dimensions.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Frequent transformation of the logo is associated with a creative approach to the television project because almost every season required a creative poster. The modifications concerned three things: font, background, and line count. Until 2005, the name was arranged in two rows, and then in one. Currently, horizontal lettering is used with thin characters and elongated strokes, crossing out “D” and “O” in the middle. The background is neutral – white, without design additions.
The variety of typefaces is amazing because, since 1963, there have been many of them. Generally speaking, there are almost no serif typefaces. The exception is the period 1967-1970 when the letters were supplemented with small strokes at the ends.
The color of the logo is also diverse because, during this time, its background managed to be not only neutral white but also cosmically colorful. But most often, monochrome prevailed: a combination of some two colors. So, all shades of blue, beige, black, pink, green, gray were used in the emblem.