I was reading an article in The New Yorker a few days ago, and my eye caught a small ad on the outer margin—where the magazine typically groups its smaller ads. Being as small as they are, it is surprising how well-designed many of them are. The ad that caught my attention was one for the Design School at Harvard.
What caught my eye were the words, “Harvard” and “Design,” since they were the biggest and the boldest. What struck me as odd was that the ad was not the best designed ad on the page, and it was very hard to read. White type placed over a gray image, and the gray was not dark enough to provide enough contrast for the white type to easily be read.
It is something I have noticed over and over again: many—not all—designers care more about the placement of the text in the space they occupy, and less about whether the audience can read the text.