Don't Let Your Letters Get in the Way of Your Message

I stopped behind this van the other day at a stop sign. Even from about three feet away I could barely read the text. It appears that they do some sort of cleaning, but beyond that it’s hard to say. What a wasted opportunity.
Don’t make these common mistakes:

  • It’s Not About You

    Whether it’s a print document, Web page, sign or vehicle lettering, don’t forget about your audience. Always look at your piece from the point of view of the reader. In this case, an inspection from about three or four feet away would have revealed the unreadability of this copy.
    If you find it hard to see from the reader’s point of view, ask a friend with a fresh pair of eyes.

  • Don’t Get Fancy

    Lots of folks think a script font makes things look classy. It does not. It generally makes things impossible to read. And the stroke only makes it worse. Here’s a typography principle to live by: the “fancier” a font, the more sparingly it must be used. For best results, script fonts should only be used by a trained professional and rarely, if ever, on signage.
    In almost all cases, a clean sans-serif font (such as Arial, Myriad, Helvetica) reads much more easily. Remember, you have a very short amount of time to communicate your message. Don’t waste it on useless curlicues. Keep it simple.

  • Don’t Try to Be Someone You’re Not

    Match the look of all communications to the image you want to project. Serious business communications call for serious type; if you are a party planner, you’ll want a more relaxed, fun look. If you don’t have graphic design experience or are not sure of yourself, stick with the basics. You’ll never offend with Garamond or Helvetica.

Whatever you do, don’t use Comic Sans (why not?) or Papyrus (why not?). Ever. For anything.

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