Like most people, trends and fads sometimes bother me. You know how it is; you see something new and different, and at first it’s just “eh, interesting.” After a while, you keep seeing it. Over and over. It takes over your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, you hear it on the radio, see it on TV and your friends are talking about it. Every time you’re exposed to it makes it become more and more irritating. Eventually you start to go a little crazy and develop a fuming rage about this one small thing that seems to have altered your world as you know it. Uggs. Justin Bieber. Duck face. YOLO.
Well, I have a confession. There is one particular thing that is really starting to grate against me.
Everyone has seen posters with this stacked type approach, because it’s very trendy right now. I hate them for so many reasons.
1) One of the first rules of thumb for design is that you shouldn’t be using more than three typefaces on a poster (ESPECIALLY if you’re using display typefaces). It makes the design look confused, overworked and unprofessional. One thing to keep in mind is that three is a MAXIMUM number the designer should use. Depending on the situation, a design shouldn’t even have more than one typeface.
2) Giving different treatments (such as color, shadows, outlines, etc.) to a typeface can give it a good amount of character and depth. The typeface then becomes much more unique, which is a double-edged sword. The designer needs to be even more careful about introducing new typefaces along with multiple different treatments of another typeface. Arial Bold in red with a black outline and a gray shadow in pt 10 is going to look like a completely different font than Arial Bold in dark grey with a white gradient and a white outer glow in pt 35.
3) Breaking up a single sentence into multiple sizes, alignments and fonts is completely ridiculous. It’s not easy to read, and doesn’t do anything to further illustrate the message. Oh, and adding little photos in the blank spaces really just makes it even more cluttered.
4) Form follows function. This technique is great if you’re trying to create logos. Posters? Not so much.
5) Just because other people are doing it doesn’t mean it’s ok.
That means you, designers, who fall into this trendy trap. Oh, and while we’re at it, leggings-as-pants girls.
Create design responsibly. If the design doesn’t function in a logical way, it fails. If you’re making something look pretty just for the sake of prettiness, it’s going to fail. Stop copying design trends and think about if it actually works well first.