Please stop screaming at me.

This book was a gift from my mom. I received it in the mail about a week ago. Growing up, I was always a bit of a momma’s boy so I want to clarify that I am not about to ridicule her gift. I’m pretty sure she’s one of my most loyal blog followers…making fun of it could get a bit awkward.

I also want to add that I am not disrespecting this book in any way. It is actually a fantastic read. However, I first thought it was going to be some kind of Joel Osteen-esque book for business. You know…combining a Life is good! You should never ever have a bad day in your entire life. God wants you to get that parking space by the front door of your favorite restaurant during their peak hours. If you don’t get that parking spot, you don’t have enough faith mentality with some kind of business ethics.

But seriously, it’s a fantastic read that’s filled with business, entrepreneurship, theology, philosophy, health, epistemology, finances, and self esteem.

How many of you would have guessed this hideously designed book contains such valuable subjects? Which brings me to my main point: despite what your 3rd grade teacher told you when you were a child—it is most definitely okay to judge a book by its cover. What did your teacher know anyway? She also said that it was important to learn how to write in cursive…

A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend came to visit me in NYC. When that sad day came in which I had to drop her off at the LaGuardia Airport for her departure, I took the bus back home. As soon as the bus pulled up, the crazy driver opened the door and started screaming at me. I was so confused. All she had to do was calmly explain that a physically handicapped person needed to get off the bus before I could get on. I signaled with my hands to calm the @#$% down and took a couple of steps back. Geez Louis. Let’s try to have some professionalism, lady.

That’s kind of what this book is doing—it’s screaming at me. Okay book…calm the @#$% down. If you want to speak to me, just do so in an orderly fashion. “GOALS!” in a giant font size is no way to capture my attention. I will just signal with my hands in a sarcastic fashion and walk away.

According to the back cover, this guy has written 50 books. 50! Because he is such a prolific author, his name should be the biggest thing on the cover. When a famous person writes a book, nobody cares about the title. The title is secondary. People don’t say, “Bossypants? What’s this about? It sounds hilarious.” They say, “Hey! Tina Fey has a book? I want to read it.”

These are not examples of good graphic design but they prove my point on typography. If a successful author has written 50 books, his name should be in big, big, big type. (Not too big though).

There are many more things that are wrong with this book. The color palette is repugnant. The photo of the author looks like an afterthought. The typography actually has drop shadows. Yuk! A drop shadow is exactly what it sounds like, it’s the illusion of a shadow behind an object in order to create depth. In regards to print, drop shadows are a thing of the 90’s. They went out with padded shoulders and hi top haircuts.

It’s important to note, however, that drop shadows are a bit different in web. I’m currently doing ad banners and HTML emails here in the city and  we use drop shadows quite regularly. If drop shadows are okay for web in NYC, they’re okay for web anywhere.

In case you’re wondering…no…this book is not from the 90’s. That means they have no excuse for such hideous design. There is never an excuse for bad design (I might be saying this from a slightly biased perspective) but there is never, ever, ever, ever an excuse.

This has been another fun design talk by your delightful blogging host, Nik Parks. I hope you’ve learned a lot and I hope you’ve gained a new disdain for the 90’s (shutters in fear). So maybe the economy was better in the 90’s…maybe Washington didn’t nearly drive our national debt into default with unrealistic political ideals in the 90’s…maybe college graduates could start a career without having to hide in graduate schools in the 90’s…let’s not be so disillusioned that we believe the world was a better place back then. Everyone and Everything  looked ugly. Remember that.

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1 Comment

Filed under Art, Critique, Graphic Design, Products

One response to “Please stop screaming at me.

  1. Thanks for the helpful tips, Nik! I like your blog!

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