This post is about a major design blooper, and this one touches on typography.
Noticing design bloopers is one of my favorite pastimes! (Ask anyone who lives with me).
I especially enjoy seeing major corporations make massively expensive design mistakes: it’s a good reminder that good and bad design are within reach of all of us (and sometimes even the big guys reach for bad design).
This design blooper is this almost-unreadable ad for Bayer Low-Dose Aspirin. I pulled this sample from a major national magazine.
They Paid A Copywriter, Then Made The Words Invisible
I don’t know the story behind this ad, but I can’t imagine the copywriters were happy with how it turned out. They researched a long list of symptoms that aspirin can prevent. They wrote them out, spell checked them, and handed them over.
Then someone set up a photo shoot, and put together a design with all the elements. At some point, a decision was made to use a yellow background (maybe to match the aspirin bottle color?).
This ad is especially bad because the demographic group they are trying to reach – middle-aged people who are concerned about staying healthy – often struggles with failing eyesight. Running white type on a yellow background makes this ad very difficult to decipher.
How You Can Avoid This Mistake
You can avoid making websites, ads, flyers and other materials that are almost impossible to read.
Always create the most contrast possible by using dark text on a light ground.
Remember, you want your marketing messages to be read. If you make them difficult to see, people won’t take the time to puzzle through your carefully written (but too-hard-to-read) words.
So take two doses of high-contrast type, and call me in the morning. (But not too early).
It’s the prescription for healthy, readable marketing materials.