Ream-n-KleanI really always wonder how product and brand designs like this can hang around as long as they do.

Perhaps it’s a matter of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Or perhaps they still have printed bags left over from the 1930’s? Doubtful. But amusing.

Okay, not to mention the product name itself. Also a relic from earlier times, I imagine.

And Bryn Mawr Smokers Sundries is now Chenille Kraft Company in Illinois, with a single graphic placeholder website.

Maybe I should offer them my services…

Was It Better Then?

better thanProofreading is important in print design, and that means more than running spell check. The omnipresence of auto spell check has allowed designers to become much more lazy on this point.

Instead it should make them more vigilant (note to self!), because this reliance makes it easier for other kinds of errors to make it into final products.

For example, grammatical inaccuracies. Or simply typing “cat” instead of “can”. Or using the wrong version of a homonym.

Fixing those that do slip by can look almost as silly as the mistake in the first place.

For example, this sign in a shop on South Street has a word cut out of it and replaced. It immediately caught my eye — I was just walking past, rather quickly, when I saw it (okay, okay, I admit, I shop there everyday… ;).

It looks silly, and makes the whole shop look kind of second-rate, which it’s not (it’s actually a rather fancy “erotica shop”).

My husband speculated that maybe this was part of a marketing campaign, a sign with a changeable tag line. We pondered what other slogans could be featured:

“Better LEAVE Your Boyfriend”
“Better WANT Your Boyfriend”
“Better KILL Your Boyfriend”

None of which seemed as likely as the mixup of then/than making it all the way to the final printed poster.

The China Probrem*

mondy_closeGood design has a lot to do with good typography. And as a corollary, good writing, and therein, good spelling and grammar.

With the ubiquity of spell-checkers these days there are few excuses for misspellings in final published work, be it destined for print or online.

Some things get lost in translation, however. It’s certainly common to find grammer and spelling mistakes in equipment manuals translated to English from Japanese, for example. And it’s somewhat of a cliche amusement to check out Chinese restaurant menus translated to English.

One of my favorite Chinese food restaurants has had the same typos on the front cover of their menu for as long as I’ve been ordering from them, so at least 3 years.  The thing is, they’ve gone through several menu redesigns during that time. The current incarnation has nice graphics and even some photos.  But couldn’t anyone along the way point out the simple changes that would make me stop laughing whenever I see the menu?

Hey, maybe they want me to laugh. Who am I to argue with that. All I know is this: Mondy close. We delivery. Words to live by.

* where I cribbed the title for this post

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Tree WorkGuess a clever and cost-concious person at the Philadelphia Streets Dept. thought up this re-use of the common “No Parking — Street Work” sign. It’s cute.

When budget cuts come, good design is at the top of the chopping block. Usually that is not a forward thinking solution, because an organization’s loss of credibility can be as bad as loss of credit.

Though this sign looks a mess, it serves its purpose just fine, scaring off any one who would want to park here.

While I wouldn’t be sad to see nicely designed Tree Work signs, I think the city’s image will survive this affront.