Friday, February 5, 2016

Your content is more important than its physical beauty

The plain old basic black on white is obviously much easier to read than black or red on blue.

I'll never understand why people who put great effort into their words make it so damn hard for people to read those words. This happens with book covers, websites, magazine articles, advertising, graffiti -- any appearance of text.

People shouldn't have to squint, magnify, adjust, or solve a puzzle to read what you wrote.

If you have an unstoppable urge to use reverse type (light text on a dark background) limit it to a small block of type, such as a headline, but NEVER put an entire page in reverse.

The "opening crawl" from the Star Wars movies is readable in movie theaters and on big TVs -- but don't try it on a book cover or a web page.

Until I complained, the website of an art school was in reverse. Someone thought it was beautiful -- but it was hard to read.

A retail store in New York spent a lot of money on a 'contemporary' sign with navy-blue letters on a black background. Apparently few people could read the sign and the store closed.

If you must use a dark background, provide a lot of contrast. White on black or yellow on navy blue are OK. Red on purple sucks. A web page or book cover is NOT a Day-Glo concert poster.

And don't use a decorative typeface that looks like it was attacked by bacteria, or those annoying distorted letter sequences you have to retype to prove that you're a human being and not a robot in order to subscribe to a blog.

And choose a type size that's BIG enough to be read without a microscope. A book or a website has more space than the back of a credit card. I have several books that I just can't read. This is a frustrating and unnecessary waste of money.

Don't let your medium hide, harm or destroy your message.

Eschew obfuscation and espouse elucidation, in content AND in form.

The statement in the next paragraph appears in my new book, 
Typography for Independent Publishers. (Don't order until next week. I'm making some corrections).
"This book is intended to provide information—not to be beautiful. To make it beautiful would make it much more expensive."

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