Friday, July 17, 2015

Typeface Pet Peeve

I noticed some graffiti on the way to work the other day and wondered, Why is it that the graffiti artists don't want people to be able to read what they paint?  Isn't being noticed at least part of the point of doing it? 

This has baffled and irritated me in other circumstances, as well.  

New store, or business of some type.  Why don't I know what kind of business it is?  Because the sign is so artistic that it can't be read.  I might look the business up when I'm on-line, if I could read the name. I'm not curious enough to drive over to it to see what type of business it is.  

Isn't the point of a sign to announce your business to the world?  Maybe it's plebeian and inartistic, but black and white signs in block letters can be read and understood. 

Magazine typeface is another source of irritation.  I wrote People magazine when they published an article with a gorgeous gray storm scene as the background image and used a tan font for the wording. 

I couldn't read one word of it.  Too little contrast. Color and contract are important if you want your message read. 

People's response?  The layout of the article was up to the page designer.  In other words, artistry trumped readability. 

You might shrug this off as the rantings of a woman getting older with diminishing vision.  Not so.  My vision is 20/30. 

I just don't understand why people spend a lot of time and/or a lot of money to put out a message that is indecipherable.  

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