Book Review: Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes by Colin Wheildon
If you are involved in print communication of any kind at all, go right now and get this book: Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes by Colin Wheildon. After several years out of print, it's back.
It's a book about the basics of readability and design. Many designers ignore readability, choosing design that looks good over design that enhances the reader's ability to comprehend. According to the Wheildon's research, here are some things the crush readability:
- Reverse-out type.
- Type over color.
- Colored (other than black) type.
- Sans-serif fonts.
Sans-serif type is hard to read! Is your head spinning yet? Many very common design practices are destructive to communication. Worse yet, a shocking percentage of "brand standards" are directly opposed to readabilty principles -- it's so consistently this way, I wonder if the Brand Shamans read Type and Layout, but mistake the bad examples for recommendations. (That would fit the Brand Shaman mold.)
There's much more in the book. Some of the principles in this book are common sense. Others will shock you. Either way, it will help you get your designers back on the job of communicating, not only creating visual art. Just get the book.
If you respect your donors, you will make sure you aren't putting barriers in front of their ability to read your material.