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Interactive Should Not Translate to Poor Design
interlude: Is this thing on? did somebody turn off the web? I know I haven’t posted anything in three days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop talking : P

I just got this month’s issue of ID, the interactive annual review. I always flip through it before reading it all, and the first thing that caught my eye, was a horribly futuristic typeface that was kind of hard to read. Well… maybe the font itself wasn’t that bad, but the use of it, along with the overall layout was dissapointing. Overall, the winning entries are displayed in a poor manner, and it’s hard to read the credits and figure out what text goes with each entry. One good thing I got from this year’s review, was this self-promo site!

Then, I just filled out HOW’s interactive competition entry form and they too had a hideous design for their call for entries, both on the web and in print.

The question is, why do some print designers feel they have to do all this “Futuristic/technologically enhanced” looking design? I mean, it is the year 2002, interactive design is here to stay and it’s not a thing of the future anymore, or is it? are we all going back to mechanicals and doing registration marks on vellum paper? hell no!

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PUBLISHED ON Nov.07.2002 BY Armin
Lup-lup’s comment is:

The entry fee is $75 per entry. Deadline is November 8, 2002. For entries postmarked after the November 8 deadline date, please add $25 per entry.

Wow. That's kinda' steep. Sorry. Don't mean to digress from your post but this requirement bit from HOW's upcoming competition just rubbed me the wrong way. I guess you can argue that the investment is worth the potential publicity. In that case, I seriously question the motive, integrity and standards by which the submissions will be judged. There's also something suspect about outpost.com's sponsorship of the event.

The Methodologie site makes nice use of Flash. But I think they can do without that questionaire in the parent screen. I know it's meant to be read as “we care about your experience with this site” but it also comes across as “we didn't bother with an internal focus group prior to launch so let the public help us figure out what we missed”. Not necessarily a good strategy for a studio who prides itself on �strategic’ design.

On Nov.07.2002 at 11:07 PM
joyolivia’s comment is:

Re: "a horribly futuristic fontface"

Jane Magazine also started to use that terrible font -- or, if not the exact same one something quite similar.

It made a Jane reader so upset that she decided to do something about it. She wrote a letter to the editors, noting its ugliness and providing her prime beef with the font -- the fact that the letter "d" looks like a flipped&reversed letter "p".

Obviously, her note ran in the letters section for all the world to see, with a nice italicized note from the art director. Surprisingly, he seemed open to her feedback, but he just decided to replace the annoying letter "d" with a flipped letter "a" in attempt to solve that problem -- if I remember correctly.

It's too bad he didn't see the more obvious solution to the problem with that font: drop the hard-to-read font and pick another!

On Nov.08.2002 at 07:29 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

ID is usually better than that. Bummer.

On Nov.08.2002 at 09:51 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>ID is usually better than that. Bummer.

That's the main reason why I was dissapointed. Their magazine is usually right on target with their design.

>That's kinda' steep. Sorry. Don't mean to digress from your post

Yes, competition prices are getting out of control. ID's fee is $100.00 per entry : |

On Nov.08.2002 at 09:55 AM
Garrison’s comment is:

Sure, the fonts are bad, self-indulgent. But their use also calls to mind the problem that arises when designers try too hard to match certain typefaces to the theme of their content, i.e. tech fonts to tech content.

On Nov.08.2002 at 10:01 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>when designers try too hard to match certain typefaces to the theme of their content, i.e. tech fonts to tech content.

Exactly. I think the problem I have with that is that it's the obvious solution to the project. It's like books, ads or brochures that have something to do with kids and the first thing that comes to designers heads is a scribbled kid-like typeface in bright colors. Just too easy.

>horribly futuristic typeface

I think that might have been the wrong statement to make, now that I look back, because it's not a bad font at all.

On Nov.08.2002 at 10:11 AM
Jon’s comment is:

HOW's design has always been pretty bad, especially for their conferences. Is that thing supposed to be a gun barrel? And my goodness, L.E.D. face?? This isn't the 1979 Radio Shack Awards, right?

On Nov.08.2002 at 09:34 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

Horribly futuristic is overly kind; that font is one of the sickest puppies I've seen in a long time.


On Nov.09.2002 at 12:36 PM