Disclaimer About These Rants: These are meant to be entertaining, to give you something to think about, and to stimulate discussion. These are opinions; sometimes unpopular opinions, sometimes harsh opinions, but the operative word is (you guessed it) opinions. This is not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. Please feel free to disagree.
Graphic design and marketing inevitably go through trends. It’s natural and in itself is not a bad thing. Some trends stick around longer than they should, and some just rub me the wrong way. Here are some that do both.
Pluralizing With Z
This is one of those trendz that was “da bomb” in the early 90s, but has somehow never completely died. I think the worst part about this is that I find it condescending. Big corporations pluralizing with Z is somewhat akin to your grandpa rapping about his dentures.
This one is, thankfully, waning, but for a while there I couldn’t leave the house without seeing a dozen advertisements peppered with umlauts. An umlaut is a pair of dots placed above a vowel in some languages (such as German) to modify the vowel sound. The problem is that these umlauts are used incorrectly, turning these ad slogans into nonsense and breaking an important rule of design: readability before style. Also, it’s just kinda stupid.
Non-sentences are, sadly, on the rise. More and more companies seem to be adopting gibberish slogans that don’t really mean anything because they totally ignore the rules of grammar. The most common version of this seems to be using adjectives as nouns, such as “Find your amazing” or “Beautiful is here” (both fictitious examples – if someone out there is actually using these it’s a coincidence and I’m sorry… really sorry).
It’s great 2 B young, but U can only B young once. More and more corporations are desperately trying to appear hip by using letters and numerals in place of words and the result is idiotic, and even more condescending then the Zs we discussed above. I think this is akin to your rapping grandpa ending every word with “izzle”.
Remember that rule at the end of the umlauts paragraph? Well, brace yourself because I’m about to rant about it again. In this advertising-saturated world, you’re lucky of your design gets anything more than a glance, so you need to communicate your key message quickly and engagingly. Why would you use a typeface that is difficult to read? Why!? I’m willing to spend more time that most people looking at an ad, and still I come across ads that I give up before deciphering their message. I’ll say it again: readability before style.