As far as I can see, WordPress doesn’t allow me to select a tiny font for either the headline or the text of this blog. Which is probably just as well, because writing a rant about how much I hate small type in very small type is a gag that’s probably too obvious to be worth doing.
Still, it’s been in my mind as one of the things I most hate about the creative services industry for literally decades, and a recent small crop of experiences has brought things to a head.
First, I underwent the still-bizarre experience of sitting on the client side of the table for a series of three agency pitches. All three agencies presented on TV screens. And two out of the three showed slides featuring levels of small-print detail that were unreadable to most of us in the room – one even showed its creative on screen, with the effect that we couldn’t make head or tail of anything except the headlines.
Then it was my wife’s turn. She is a financial market researcher, and was sent some PDFs of new print material to test, onscreen, among groups of financial advisers. The tiny copy was unreadable – she sent it back, saying that unless it could be changed she’d be wasting her time.
And then just today, I needed to read some instructions on a website: even wearing my very best reading glasses, I have no idea what it was saying.
I know why this happens. It happens because the people designing and producing this stuff are a) young, with good eyesight, b) working on screens no smaller than 22 inches and often much bigger, and c) don’t care whether type is readable because they have no intention of reading it.
I think it’s pretty embarrassing that designers who are supposed to be in the business of communications operate in this way, but it’s even more embarrassing that those around them on both agency and client side don’t pick them up on it.
Hence the need for the League. I must admit I haven’t given an awful lot of thought to what it’s actually going to do yet, but I suspect that writing grumpy letters, emails, tweets and blogs to name and shame offenders will be a large part of it.
To this end, it would be helpful if you could send me details of any perpetrators who come to your attention.
But ideally in nothing smaller than 11-point type.