Tag Archives: Helvetica

3 reasons why Kayla is wrong about design

You see the atrocities below this paragraph? A young lady named Kayla uses these as examples of why “design is not all that it is made out to be”. Her argument: these ugly, yet successful sites prove design is unimportant.

Chris Guitars

Chris Guitars is a discount guitar site. Here’s an older post from my blog that will explain why a an inexpensive company needs an inexpensive looking brand.

MMFOB blog

This “successful” blog doesn’t seem to exist anymore…

Plenty of Fish

Yeah, this isn’t exactly sexy, but it isn’t horrid. Besides, check out their updated brand:

POF

This is a decent leap forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if sales have increased.

Wikipdedia

Wikipedia is the epitome of a content heavy site. The entire concept is based on the encyclopedia, right? For a site that is driven by seemingly infinite content and links, this is excellent design.

Google

Okay, does Kayla own a Delorean with a flux capacitor? Where in the world did she find this image of Google? Is this from 2000? This example doesn’t count.

Kayla, like many other people, thinks design is purely aesthetic—a designer just makes stuff look good. Allow me to rebuttal and explain that design is so, so, so much more than making stuff look good.

3 reasons why Kayla is wrong about design:

1. Good Design is clear communication. If the target demographic has to spend time deciphering, the designer has failed.

The documentary Helvetica features a “designer” (note sarcasm) named David Carson. By the way, Mr. Carson…your site looks like a myspace page from 2004. You might want to do something about that.

In the 80’s he worked for an experimental magazine called Ray Gun Magazine. His claim to fame was that he took an article and published it in Zapf Dingbats (or the 1980’s equivalent to the typeface), which was impossible to read.

Let me demonstrate what Zapf Dingbats is:

helvetica

Obviously, an article published in Zapf Dingbats is bad design.

In my overwhelmingly humble opinion (ahem), this guy was just lucky. He’s not a designer. He was just an edgy artist in an edgy decade—the 80’s.

2. Good design is persuasive. My business partner and I had a meeting with a marketer last week. We discussed how design and marketing go hand-in-hand. The three of us completely agreed that if a pretty design doesn’t improve sales…it’s a failure.

Good design improves sales for the client. It has a call to action for the client’s target demographic. It persuades the reader to do something.

Bottom line: it persuades people to do what you want them to do. (Sounds a bit manipulative, huh? Mwahahahahaha.)

3. Good design is good SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely crucial. I’ve read many, many articles, ebooks, blogs, etc. on SEO. In a nutshell, a site with good SEO will appear on the top of a Google search.

I have a friend who is really getting in photography, let’s call him George Georgeson. I explained to him that he would be at the top of the search if someone Googled George Georgeson photography NYC. But good SEO would put him at the top of the list if someone simply Googled photographer NYC.

Keep in mind that I’m giving an overly simplified definition of SEO.

You want to be at the top of the first page on Google. It’s a very, very lucrative place to be and it’s very, very exclusive. If you’ve made it to the second page, it’s bad design. That’s like being in the front of the line at the hip club that won’t let anyone else in.

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Branding, Business, Critique, Graphic Design, SEO, Web Design

Weird, hairy, abnormal growths of typography.

Big things have been happening on my blog. Because I am now advertising, the amount of traffic has more than quadrupled! Life is good.

If you’ll recall from an earlier post, I was in East Harlem the other day. I stumbled across one of the greatest atrocities that has ever happened to the world of typography.

Jokerman!…

I apologize for having such a poor quality photo, I had to use my phone. I wish I could go back and take a decent picture with my camera but…yeah…it’s night time right now. East Harlem is not the safest place to be at night! I could take my camera but “shooting someone” would have a very new meaning for me.

This is what it says though:

When I was in the 8th grade, my class spent a week in a sex ed class. At least, they claimed it was. Sex ed, is short for sex education. This usually entails educating about sex, right?

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty excited about the class. This was my initial reaction:

But it ended up more like this:

Scare tactics, that’s all it was. They tried to coerce abstinence by fear.

They showed us gruesome slides of STD’s. They never explained the benefits of abstinence. They never said that it would bring counterintuitive peace and simplicity. They just said, “Here’s a vagina with warts. Very painful warts! Do you want this, ladies? Then don’t have sex until you’re married. Here’s a penis that is turning black, fellas. It burns when he pees. Do you want this to happend to you? Then don’t have sex until you’re married.”

I’m going to shed a little light on my views (blogs are about transparency, after all). I am a big proponent of abstinence. But fear can not be the driving force. And you can’t coerce someone into being abstinent. If fear is your foundation, you’re going to fall…and you’re going to be uneducated on the subject. The stakes are high in that game.

If you’re wondering what in the heck this has to do with a laundromat sign: Jokerman is the STD slideshow of typography. It’s hideous. It’s scary. It doesn’t get the message across. It also looks like it has weird, hairy, abnormal growths.

Here’s everything you need to know about Jokerman:

Non-designers don’t know these things. That’s why this blog is absolutely imperative to your existence (designers also have a tendency to be a bit dramatic at times). But seriously, this does ensure the need and practical application for my industry.

Remember those people I surveyed for the Halloween costume logos? This is what they had to say about these typefaces:

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Critique, Graphic Design, Signage, Typography