What happens when your designer has more power than your writer

Think you don't need a writer involved in creating your marketing collateral? The people behind these three logos were clearly too interested in the design of the things to care about how they might read to an outsider.

Exhibit number one


The use of colour or other visual elements to emphasise a bad, clunky pun has to be one of my chief bugbears. To me, it's a sign of a not very bright designer who thinks they're being clever - and a client who has indulged them.

This example, in which the post-code "SE1" has been wittily incorporated into a word, is particularly egregious. Assuming, as is the case, that most people sub-vocalise when they read, how are they supposed to pronounce this?

"REE-VITAL-AY SE1"? "Revitalise to the power of one"? (Is that mathematically possible? And if so, isn't it just "Revitalise"? Can you have mathematical tautology?) "Revitalise - oh, but where's the footnote text? Does this have small print?"

To think, too, that the sign is aimed at (presumably) vaguely literate people - handily hammered home for us by the slightly random rubrication of "libraries".

Exhibit number two


No matter how good the wine is, or how inviting the bar, I still can't get over the fact that your logo looks like text-speak for the past tense of "to tweet". Or something much worse.


Exhibit number three

This, from the drinks menu on a commuter boat that runs along the River Thames. Thankfully, there was no sign of nautical naughtiness on the day we sailed.

Have you spotted any annoyingly over-designed signs? Let me know in the comments and I'll feature the best in a future post.

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What happens when you don't bother to get a writer in

Designed to annoy