Thursday, August 13, 2015

It is a black and white matter - the hideous use of reverse type.

This is the front page of today's "Jewish Chronicle". I'm not asking you to read it, or try to, because of its content. I'm showing it to comment on the still insidious and hideous practice of the use of "reverse type". "Reverse Type" is when a publication (including online) decides to print in white on black rather than black on white. The great AdMan David Ogilvy wisely said "If the New York Times could be made more readable by printing in reverse type they'd do it" - or words to that effect.

So why do some publications still do this decades after Ogilvy settled the matter? Ignorance mainly. A new generation of designers is around who think that they need to grab attention by being smart. Of course the "Jewish Chronicle" is not all white on black. But here they think they have a big story and big questions for Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn. Perhaps they do. How especially odd that they do this not by making the text more readable (by increasing the font size for example) but by making it less!

Another common use of reverse type is in theatre programmes. It's trendy - I assume. Even more bizarre! In a theatre you are often reading your programme in dim light. Combine that with trying to decifer text in reverse type! 

For once this is a black and white matter!

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