Weekly Readings – Week 5

Before you think it… No I haven’t missed week 4! There just wasn’t any readings for that week. I do however have something for week 5 so here it is!

What the hell does that say?!

This week I read Principles of Typography for User Interface Design by Paul Kahn and Krzysztof (pronounces Crazy Steve) Lenk. Paul and Krzysztof (no suggested spelling) talk about how typography began as a print practice and developed certain principles and evolved into more modern mediums. Emphasis is made by Paul and Krzysztod (did you mean crazy steve?) to highlight how crucial typography is to a graphical user interface or GUI.  I agree with this statement, an interface that’s easy to interact with encourages the user to do just that. If something is hard to read then it can put the user off. I for one hate one particular use of bad typography, but this type is meant to be bad… Yes its the dreaded CAPTCHA form. Those things are awful, just awful. CAPTCHA are those boxes that pop up filled with random and distorted text to test if your human or some sort of evil spam robot sent from the future. I always get them wrong and they seem to be getting worse every time I’m forced to use one. That’s right FORCED! Although I do indeed despise CAPTCHA, they are the perfect example of when something is difficult to read it can frustrate the reader. CAPTCHA may be at the extreme end of the spectrum but I am pretty certain that you don’t like them either. Oh and by the way I found this website showcasing some of the worse CAPTCHA forms out there. Click here to check it out.

A selection of famous logos. Notice the plain text on simple backgrounds

Paul and Krzysztod (type the two words) go quite in-depth about different characteristics of type but one of the more interesting topics they touch on is character recognition. They claim that it’s not actually the black of the text that you read but instead its the white behind the text. The white spaces is what gives the characters recognition. This means that if your background contrasts with your text it will make it difficult to read. I think its is what makes some of the best logos. If you think about some really culturally famous logos they are always set on a plain background with no clutter to distract from the actual logo itself.

How do you find using CAPTCHA forms? Do you think that background is just as important as the front ground in logo design? Let me know in the comment section. Oh and Krzysztod is Polish and actually means Christopher. Not so crazy after all I guess.



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