This piece came in the mail a while back and I saved it to my design bloopers folder to share with you.
I am sad to say it was soliciting donations for a college design program. (Details have been obscured to protect the innocent).
Maybe they’re using reverse psychology. When they sent out a piece like this, maybe what they were really trying to say is, “support our design program, because clearly we have a lot to learn.”
(In fairness, I think the piece was done by a student. I would be embarrassed to share some of my student work. I’ve created plenty of bloopers over the years, too. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way!)
In the spirit of learning, let’s talk about why it doesn’t work.
I can spot it a mile away, and after this post, I hope you can, too. It’s the mark of an amateur who is dabbling in design. What gives them away?
They lurk in the (drop) shadows.
Drop That Shadow, and Take Your Hands Off That Mouse!
Drop shadows are one of those graphic “tricks” that people are drawn to like moths to a light bulb. The downside of drop shadows is that they give type or objects a fuzzy edge, and they make text very hard to read. There are a few very limited times when drop shadows can be useful, however.
It’s much easier to show you, so watch this quick video:
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).