When it’s Comic Sans – at least to some people.
I’m a member of the Creative Design Pros group on LinkedIn where I provide advice, opinions, suggestions, etc. Recently, there was a member (an interior designer) who posted her website for feedback. The entire thing wasn’t even a design – it was a background, a blob of text, and 4 thumbnail photos. It reminded me of what I made in high school when I was learning HTML (and I suppose she was). What really caught my eye was the blob of text.
It was all keyed in Comic Sans. I obviously didn’t take the thing seriously and I told her no one else would. She didn’t understand – she didn’t even realize many people knew what the font was. She said it was “a flowing cursive yet legible script”.
That was the indicator she had no idea what typography was all about. I didn’t really expect her to – she never claimed she was a web designer. Comic Sans is a handwritten font, neither cursive or script.
She didn’t care if professionals didn’t like it. She wanted the average Joe to like it. It was just “a font” to her.
In all reality, Comic Sans was designed for comic strip conversation bubbles because at the time, Times was being used.
That is all it is good for. Comic Sans is for people who do not understand typography and would rather look like a child than a professional. It doesn’t matter who your client happen to be – you need to make sure they realize YOU are a professional.
This site says it all: http://bancomicsans.com/main/?page_id=2
While some people would say, hey if the average Joe likes it, then use it, I say the average Joe likes it because they don’t know any better. It’s up to us a graphic designers to deliver appropriate solutions – including typography and help them understand our choices. Comic Sans was meant as a solution for comic strip conversation bubbles – nothing else.
While Comic Sans might be “just a font” to those who don’t know anything about fonts, to professionals it is the scourge of the industry because as Ban Comic Sans so eloquently puts:
Like the tone of a spoken voice, the characteristics of a typeface convey meaning. The design of the typeface is, in itself, its voice. Often this voice speaks louder than the text itself. Thus when designing a “Do Not Enter” sign the use of a heavy-stroked, attention-commanding font such as Impact or Arial Black is appropriate. Typesetting such a message in Comic Sans would be ludicrous. Though this is sort of misuse is frequent, it is unjustified. Clearly, Comic Sans as a voice conveys silliness, childish naivete, irreverence, and is far too casual for such a purpose. It is analogous to showing up for a black tie event in a clown costume.
Whenever I do identity kit designs (stationery), I always provide my clients with a Word version of their letterhead. If there was bleed on the original, I create a version without it. This way the client has the ability to send Word documents containing their branding as well as a backup in case they run out of their printed letterheads. I’ve created this tutorial upon request to show you how I do it.
I’m going to use Alfa Electronics as an example in this case since there wasn’t any bleed.
Here is the original vector art:
First off, make sure you have the artboard the same size as the printed piece will be (in the US it’s letter). We can do the export two ways. In Illustrator, go to File > Export.
Choose JPEG and then check “use artboards” as we want to make sure it’s 8.5″x11″. In CS5 if you had any more documents in there (such as the entire kit), you would want to click “range” and tell it which artboard to use.
Make sure that you choose maximum quality, RGB (since they will probably not use a CMYK printer in-house), and 300 DPI.
Then click OK.
If you have a solid header/footer you can go into Photoshop, open the JPG, crop out the top and bottom as separate files and save them separately. You could also keep this entire large image for the header/footer as one large background. That’s what we are going to do.
Let’s open Word. Double click on the top part of the document to open up the header/footer. If you aren’t sure how to do this, go to “Insert”, then click on “Header” and then click “Edit Header”.
Now once the header is opened we need to insert the letterhead so under the tab “Insert”, click “Picture”.
Find the full image and insert it.
It’s probably going to look like this: too small. We need to make it the correct size so right click and choose
”Size and Position”.
Click “Reset” and then OK.
Now it should be the right size, but it is not correctly aligned.
We need to edit the text wrapping now. Right click and choose “Behind Text”.
Once that is done, you just need to move the image around so it’s positioned correctly.
Now you can close the Header/Footer. To do this, go to the “Design” tab and choose “Close Header/Footer”.
Now we need to set up the margins for the text because right now the cursor is in the logo.
On the rulers, just drag to your preferred margin allowance. For this design, I want the cursor to start at the “alfa” type and leave available space under the logo. The bottom margin is fine already.
This is what it looks like fixed:
Set up your preferred fonts. You can now save the document because that’s all there is! To do the process with individual header/footer pieces, you still need to reset the size and do the text wrapping and positioning, you will just have one image file for the header section and one file for the footer section.
Now here it is with content inside.
I had phone conversation last night with a potential client that wanted me to design a logo for him. He said that he had run a contest for $50 earlier and got a bunch of logos, but they were all sub-par amateur work. He liked what I had in my portfolio and wanted something of that caliber. I told him my rates – over 10 times what he had originally paid and he was all right with that.
You know why? Because you brand is the most important graphic representation of your business. If you were the book, it’s your cover. The more interesting the cover looks, the more likely someone will open the book.
While you want to sell your product, service, etc. you have to get the audience to want to find out more. A good image will help you get them through the door.
Any of my clients will notice that I hardly ever mail anything. It is not intentionally “green”, I just see it as a waste with all the technology we have at our disposal and especially since most of my freelance business projects are web/identity where the client doesn’t need a hard copy proof.
I especially like web-based billing. I had started out with PDF emails in 2004, giving clients the ability to pay with Paypal. I never liked checks to be mailed, especially with clients mailing over long distances. Oftentimes I had checks get lost in the mail, which was never good.
Now I’ve streamlined even more with Curdbee. Not only can I still make PDF emails, but I can also accept Paypal and Google Checkout right from the invoice. It allows me to export and import data which makes tax time a breeze (export the invoices to excel, weed out the ones not paid or paid in another year, and add together). Clients can easily view the invoices from the web and if I update invoice details, it’s automatically updated so I don’t need to resend it.
Their old site left so much to be desired from. It was outdated and the church staff has issues with updating.
The new site is HTML/CSS and in the CMSMS Content Management System. The news and event listings are the same editable listing with two different CSS-styled views. The slideshow on the front has been done using jQuery and an HTML list with CSS styling. The site has browser fixes for optimum display in IE7.
It’s pretty sad when you read a magazine for the ads. It’s worse when you catch an ad with a spelling error. Can you catch the one below (no, I didn’t design this)?