Tag Archives: Typography

Facebook Page within a Facebook Page within a Blog Post

I’ve recently created a Facebook page for I Kern’t Stand It. Yeah…I’m shamelessly promoting it. You gotta’ problem with that??

I found a fantastic Facebook page about building a following on your Facebook page. This is getting a bit like Inception…a blog post about a Facebook page about a Facebook page.

I don’t want to be too harsh because this page has some really, really good content—25 Ways to Grow Your Facebook Fan Page. But I just can’t let the main picture escape its well deserved critique. This is an atrocity that can’t be ignored.

What's your social net worth

Not quite sure why her legs have been chopped off…Call me superficial but levitating torsos creep me out.

If I could summarize everything that’s wrong with this design into one word, it would undoubtedly be PAPYRUS!

On my very first blog post, I used this “lovely” graphic to express the essence of Papyrus:

words of the na'vi

If you want to be a good designer—or just a decent citizen—there are three principles that should be practiced at all times.

1. Never use Papyrus.
2. Never use Comic Sans.
3. Use drop shadows sparingly and with the subtlety of a cat burglar.

Papyrus

In a very early post, I explained kerning—hence the name of my blog. Kerning is the space between the individual letters.

Papyrus

That’s a lot of freaking space!

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Filed under Art, Branding, Business, Critique, Graphic Design, SEO, Social Media, Typography, Web Design

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

What the heck is in that box?

My last entry ended on a phallic note. I had asked that you not think less of me and now I’m writing this post. Oh dear.

What kind of logo is this? Why is a man holding a box? I guess it’s because you put stuff in a box before putting it in a storage unit? Whatever the reason, it’s a poor concept…so poor…it IS the 99%.

Moving on to the obvious question: What is going on here, exactly? I don’t think one has to be perverse in order to wonder what the heck is inside that box. All I can think of is the iconic SNL digital short with Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake. I won’t post the video or the title, I’m trying to keep this blog somewhat clean, but here’s an image from the video.

Can you guess what’s inside their boxes?

If we can go back to the logo, I’m also seeing two letter D’s as in double d’s. Look, I’m not trying to make this sexual, it’s just there!

Double D’s and a genitalia beckoning box, what does this have to do with a storage unit in Queens?

Do you see it? The arms make the D’s.

It’s kind of like one of those mom and pop gas stations in which one of the D’s in the logo is backwards for some inexplicable reason.

A designer shouldn’t have his mind in the gutter but he should be aware that many people do. If your designs can be easily turned into dirty humor, it’s probably not good for a brand image.

When it comes to a brand image, even if it’s something like storage units, clean professionalism is everything.

I had a professor in college who told a story of a student who designed a brand for a festival. I can’t remember where the festival was (my college had people from all over the world) but it was a grape festival. They called it the “Grape Fest” (creative name, huh?). This student wanted to give it an elegant look. I suspect he was inspired by something like a first edition classic book…you know how first letter of each chapter would be highly ornate? Anyway, the student’s presentation looked something like this:

Like I said, it’s important to be aware of how your designs can be perceived. This could have easily been highly, highly offensive!

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

Ray William Johnson, take a design class. Now.

Here’s a collage I made from Ray William Johnson’s youtube channel. These are the thumbnails to his videos. Wow, where do I even begin?

I’d like to start by saying that I don’t know the guy personally so I can’t personally attack him. He’s an entrepreneur and I respect the crap out of that. He’s a professional speaker, another thing I respect. And he’s pop culture savvy—I love pop culture. In case my blog doesn’t make it evident, I also hold very high respect for comedy.

However, and this is a big however, I hate, hate, hate, HATE his videos. I despise his persona. I’ve never been able to finish one of his videos and I’ve given him more chances than he deserves. He’s not funny—he doesn’t make me laugh. And for the love of all that is sacred and holy, take just one design class, man! His “hypnosis meets a Mexican diner meets Perez Hilton wannabe” brand just doesn’t do it for me. Granted, each of his videos has millions of views…but I suspect he appeals almost exclusively to adolescent boys with ADD.

Hey, maybe it works for the guy. He’s the one with millions of followers, not me (yet, mwahahaha). Maybe I should take a page out of his book and learn a thing or two. Keep in mind, if we were talking about a literal book, I’d take one look at it and use it to fix a wobbly table at best.

Guys, if any of you has an argument for Ray William Johnson’s image, I’d love to hear it.

Here’s my argument: there is a difference between inexpensive and cheap. This guy is cheap. I’m talking Turkish flea market kind of cheap.

Take the Gap, Inc. for example. They own Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy. These brands range from luxury to inexpensive respectively.

Above is their most expensive line: Banana Republic. I love this brand, love it! It’s chic and clean. It’s obviously high quality. Their use of photography and white space is phenomenal.

Above is Gap. This is lower quality and less expensive than Banana Republic, but it’s still very nice clothing. This site contains less content and less photography. The color palette isn’t as much of an earth tone palette as Banana Republic’s. Instead, we see some orange and blue-green in the palette.

This is the main point I’m trying to make: above is Old Navy (the lowest quality and least expensive of the three mentioned brands). This is more affordable. It’s great for a younger demographic. If I were to think from a parent’s perspective, this would be the ideal choice? What kid needs luxury wool and cotton? They’re just going to outgrow it in three days anyway, right?

The color palette isn’t made of earth tones. We’re seeing playful blues and oranges. I think this is terrific branding for a not-so-luxurious brand of clothing. This is the perfect example of inexpensive, which is much, much, much more than I can say about:

What’s with the ALL CAPS, you hooligan? I feel like you’re screaming at me and pressuring me into doing something I don’t want to do. Just shut up and leave me alone.

Wow, that is the single most distracting freakin’ background I have ever seen. My eyes just don’t know where to go.

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel as though my eyeballs have just taken an aerobics class (don’t think about the biology of that statement and the joke is funnier). My eyes are exhausted after writing about this mess. I think I’m going to put a spoon in the freezer, take it out when it’s cold, place it on top of my eyelids, and call it a day.

P.S. Julian Smith dances circles around this guy in terms of comedy, presentation, and branding.

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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