: fifty shades of gray, my @#% :

There’s one shade. And it’s virtually illegible, in case you hadn’t noticed.

I can see how you might have missed it, though, since the whole damn internet is awash in faint, faded gray text — probably about a 40% black. Or, maybe, a Pantone 453. Whatever, gray type ought to be abolished.

Seriously, try to read this. I dare you.

I tried and now my computer monitor is smeared with nose prints, my eyeballs are all linty and bloodshot, my neck is strained, and I’ve come down with a raging case of cognitive strain. I feel like Mrs. Magoo or I would if there’d ever been one; a Mrs. Magoo, that is. Alas, Mr. Magoo never married, poor bastard.

What happened to rich, glossy, high contrast black type? Where did it go? When did it get tossed in the dustbin? Better yet, why?

Black text was a joy to behold. It was glorious the way it marched across a page in bold, orderly, precise lines. Or swept loosely, in broad, graceful arcs, around design elements. Words, in the hands of a typographer, were a beautiful thing. A delight. You couldn’t look away. Well, you could, but you didn’t want to. Your eyes lingered, drawn like a moth to flame.

Not anymore. These days, words get shoved into tight, airless columns or stuffed into cramped, uninviting blocks of 6-point Helvetica — no thought to meaning or purpose. And writers are no longer writers, you know. They ‘work in text.’

Hey, wait, does adjusting your display brightness help? It does? Oh, um, heh heh, never mind.

NOTE TO SELF: Cancel Eye Dr.

Copyright © Publikworks 2012

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10 Responses to “: fifty shades of gray, my @#% :”

  1. optie

    Sometimes I just give up instead of reading type that’s too difficult. My worst is fine print on glossy paper, the main reason I no longer buy any magazines!

    Like

    • publikworks

      I love your avatar, optie!

      My worst is the computer screen in a Starbucks — all I can see is my own reflection. What a disappointment that is.

      Like

  2. John

    Great point indeed. Too many sites have far too small text. My site is based on blue and white, so it may not work well for everyone but the font isn’t super tiny.

    Like

    • publikworks

      Good thinking, John. Most everyone can deal with a small typeface all right or light colored type, but not both.

      Like

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