I don’t read magazines all that often but when I do it’s usually in bed and I’m usually on my back. I noticed something the other night as I was reading an article in Wired magazine about India’s skeleton trade. I noticed that unless you’re in the middle of the magazine, it’s hard to read using one hand. And I usually fold my magazine in on itself in order to read it using one hand. In the front of the magazine, the left hand side of the spread gets cut off when the magazine is folded over.
I am forced to turn the magazine at weird angles in order to read the type at the gutter.
It’s a small design pet peeve of mine.
When you get to the back of the magazine, the same thing happens in reverse order. It’s easy to read the left hand side of the page whenever the magazine is folded back on itself. But whenever you get to the right hand side of the spread, you’re forced to either open the magazine entirely or do the same weird motion.
Think of how many minutes I could save every day if the magazine designer took this phenomenon into consideration. Think of how much more pleasurable my reading experience would be if the gutter was thought about depending on where you are in the magazine. Perhaps the designer could extend artwork to include the gutter. Perhaps they could vary the width of the column closest to the gutter depending on where you are in the magazine. White space never hurt anyone. As my design professor used to say, “It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity.”
And then sometimes decisions made by a graphic designer or marketing team just confuse me. Remember this logo?
I originally saw it on its side. Like this:
Some folks thought it was just me, while others agreed. The point is, enough people saw a penis to warrant a second look and maybe a third, fourth and fifth.
People should have to pay for good graphic design but more often than not it’s an afterthought. If more people thought about graphic design over at Baxter Healthcare Corp., three babies might still be alive today and Dennis Quaid might not be suing them.
Obviously, the Heparin bottle design (or lack thereof) is a bigger deal than a logo that may or may not look like a penis even if said logo includes the tagline “Sharing God’s Gifts.” And it’s a much bigger deal compared to whether or not I have to move my magazine around in order to read it. But my point is (and always has been) that graphic design is a lot more important than people choose to admit.
Am I right? Or am I right.