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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Clueless Graphic Design by American Express, the Peninsula Hotel, and pharma

Please forgive a moment of crankiness associated with middle-aged eyes, and frustration with graphic design work by 20 or 30 somethings who either do not care about, or do not bother to think about, middle-aged eyes. The suggestion ? Try actually testing your design work with real people, including middle-aged people with the endemic bad eye sight that arrives between 50 and 55 for most people.

Example number 1. My American Express card has the centurion graphic pasted across 5 of the account numbers, rendering it impossible to read in most forms of light. And, the card number printed on the back is written in microdot. Lose the centurion, or move the location – there’s plenty of room for both.

Example number 2. Because of a litigation conference, I recently stayed at the Peninsula hotel in Chicago. It’s a nice place, but the rooms feature "high-tech" light switches and thermostats with tiny words not visible to middle-aged eyes in the day, much less at night. So, all the supposedly great feature become useless, and in fact are counter-productive.

Example number 3. Small print on drug boxes and package inserts. I’ve not yet seen a lawsuit over the small print, but …. An unreadable warning is less useful than a poor warning.

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