I Can’t Read That: The Importance of Design Clarity
The words “I can’t read that” are the bane of many a graphic designer. But it’s one of the single more important pieces of criticism of a design you can get.
When designing a logo, clarity is vitally important. Clarity, not only of intent but of the literal variety as well. Oftentimes when designing a logo, in our excitement of trying to find or create the perfect typeface to tell the brand’s story we often find a font that, while cool, is too complicated or otherwise difficult to read. An that’s where design becomes a balancing act. You want a logo that speaks to the brand you are either working with or trying to develop, but if the average person can’t read it, you’ve failed.
One problem often comes in determining readability. As the designer, you know exactly what it says. You’re designing it so your brain automatically makes the design seem clearer to you than it might be to everyone else. It’s like how reading subtitles during a movie where the characters have thick accents somehow seems to make the accents seem clearer in your head because you’re reading along. So we often really require a set of fresh eyes to see what we can’t because we’re too close to the design.
Run your ideas past a supervisor or co-worker to get their thoughts and make sure it’s readable. Believe me when I say that if it’s not, it’s among the first things you’ll hear as feedback. And listen to it. Readability is not subjective, like taste. If someone can’t read it, then don’t debate the point. Don’t get defensive. Accept the reality and work on the problem.
That doesn’t mean every logo has to use Helvetica in black on white, but that super-elaborate font with all the curly-q’s might not be the best choice either.
Written by Blog Contributor: Dee Fish