20/20 Vision v. No Vision At All

The latest copy of my professional magazine came in the post this morning. Clearly some of the High Street opticians such as Spec Savers have a financial interest in such magazines for, whereas previous issues were sized in a readable A4 format, the latest issue is A5 sized i.e. half the size, with type too small to be easily read without glasses. Despite this the editors proudly tell me that the “new look” and “compact size” of the magazine is not only “more contemporary” but also “more convenient”.

I would certainly agree that the new format is more contemporary, simply because the modern trend is to design publications in such a way as to render them unreadable. For example, take some of the recently published encyclopaedias I have been reading. They are heavily illustrated and images or textures are used as backgrounds over which the words are printed. So, the sort of situation that arises is that white coloured type is printed over a very pale grey background making the text virtually invisible. Alternatively, the background texture is so heavily patterned, and the type size too small and of too similar a colour to the background, to be readable. In other words, designers have completely lost the plot. For reasons that I will not go into here, they are so busy being “contemporary” that they are no longer able to design items which actually function.

As to “more convenient”, well, “more convenient” for whom? The new format with its tiny type is not more convenient for me for I cannot read it - and I do not need glasses for reading (unless the type is so small that there is nobody who could read it without some means of magnification).

However, the fact that the editors are doing a hard sell on this “new look magazine” means that they are up to no good, and the no good they are up to is increased profits (often called “reduced production costs”)……….at my expense.

Firstly, I am paying the same money for a magazine that now I cannot read. (Actually, the content is hardly worth reading, but that’s a different issue.)

Secondly, this fashion for smaller type (even in children’s books) and bad book design will inevitably have a detrimental affect on your or your children’s health e.g. it may well induce eye-strain and/or headaches and the totally unnecessary purchase of spectacles. In other words, bad design is bad for your health, yet bad design is rampant and getting worse by the day.

Contact them and ask for an audio version.

obviously you should foil the schemes of crafty opticians by opting for laser eye surgery

how do you justify this being in ST&M?

This is all happening because of science, because of environmentalism, conservation etc., etc… . Science is more and more finding ways of intruding into our lives.