Spa & Nails

Bleh! This looks like Andy Warhol vomited all over a Microsoft Word document. I’m not kidding, look at the color palettes from some of his most iconic pieces:

Allow me to get in touch with my Arkansan roots for a second…ahem…you could wrap this thing around you and you’d be ready to go deer hunting. badump-boomp-shhhh.

No more Southern jokes from me, I promise.

Design is first and foremost about communication—it’s visual communication. With that being said, this banner/advertisement fails miserably. My first thought, “Is this place really called ‘SPA & NAILS’? How unimaginative.” I understand that they are a spa and they do nails, but that can’t seriously be the name of the store. That would be like opening a chicken restaurant and naming it CHICKEN or having a pet dog named DOG.

I’m not seeing any store hours—which is a pretty crucial tidbit of information. I see that a manicure/pedicure and a one hour body massage are only available Monday through Friday. Again, I am clueless as to what hours they are available on Monday through Friday. If you’ll notice, that is not actually a hyphen. This may seem petty and fastidious but it’s not. Excellent typography is what separates the professionals from the amateurs, which means details, details, details. What you’ll see below is not a hyphen, but in fact a tilde. A tilde is not ever used for this purpose. It is used for mathematics and certain foreign languages. As an English speaker/reader/writer you will seldom come across the tilde. I’ve seen it used to mean “approximately” as in, “I’ll meet you for coffee ~3:30.” But that’s just pretentious and downright stupid. If you do that, you’re going to waste so much time explaining yourself to the confused person on the other end of the email or text message.

Below, I have listed a hyphen and a tilde (respectively).


While we’re on the subject or hyphens, let me address something that is used incorrectly by nearly everyone. Allow me to introduce you to the en dash and the em dash.

An en dash is the same length as the letter “n”. And em dash is the same length as the letter “m”. It’s quite elementary when you think about it. I’m trying not to turn this is to a blog about grammar (graphic design is so much cooler anyway) but just know these simple rules:

1. A hyphen (-) is used to separate phrases/words like off-the-wall, on-the-spot, t-rex, and x-ray. 

2. An en dash (–) is used to separate numbers like 35– 100. (You type this by hitting opt + the hyphen key.)

3. An em dash (—) is used to separate a phrase like, “Sebastian was running late for work—which is very common—when he was hit by a cab driver who fled the scene for fear of being fired/deported.” (You type this by hitting shift + opt + the hyphen key.)

I’m really not sure what a micro-dermabrasion is (they used the hyphen correctly there, good job guys) but I’m deducing from the large, fuchsia rectangle that they no longer offer micro-dermabrasions. Speaking of which, umm…you stop offering a service so you just slap a horrible color on top of horrible colors? Geez-louis.

Let’s be honest for second…in all probability, these people aren’t native English speakers. I mean, it is a nail salon (does this paragraph make me racist?) so let’s not be too rigid on grammar. Other than the misuse of the tilde, I’m going to say that the store hours are nowhere to be located, the colors are grotesque, the typography is a train wreck, and the overall design is incredibly simplistic. In case you’re unaware, the is a tremendous difference between simple and simplistic. If you want an example of simple, look at Apple. If you want an example of simplistic, scroll to the top of this entry.

It has been fun talking about design with you guys. Hopefully Hurricane Irene won’t delay me from my next entry. Fingers crossed. Speaking of keeping my fingers crossed, I certainly hope it doesn’t flood in NYC because I’m subletting a basement!

~Nik Parks

P.S. I just broke one of my rules and used the tilde outside the context of mathematics and foreign languages. Mwahahahahahahaha!!!



Filed under Advertising, Critique, Graphic Design, Signage

2 responses to “Spa & Nails

  1. Sunny Derienzo
    I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everyone else encountering problems with your website. It seems like some of the written text within your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and make me aware if this is happening to them as well? This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Cheers

    • nikparks

      Really? When you say it has happend before, do you mean on this blog in particular?

      What browser are you using? Is it Internet Explorer?

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