I have to admit that I am addicted to the Sunday ads. Those great big bundles of joy just bursting with savings. I can’t help but be drawn to this week’s deals. And I am particularly fond of looking at the well-designed ones. Target is always clean and simple. They don’t bombard you with everything they can possibly carry in their stores. And they display their ads at the front of their stores, so you can be reminded of what you remembered that you absolutely had to have.

And then there are those other guys…We’re just going to look at ABC Warehouse as an example. Now I will be the first to admit that I absolutely love the old radio and TV commercials where claim they “don’t sell ficus.” Pretty much brilliant and highly entertaining. But lacking severe continuity with their weekly ads, which look similar to what a sales fairy might throw up during a hangover.

A perfect example of elegance and simplicity this is not. Numbers and special deal bubbles jump out everywhere. There is more text on the page than anything else. I personally love to see large images of the product versus its specs. I can understand wanting to conserve space and trees, but saving the environment and your budget is no excuse for awkward and crazy design.

Along with this, I also came across a statement I’ve never seen on a weekly ad. I glanced at the small print in the bottom corner of an A.C. Moore ad and found this sentence: “Not responsible for typographic [and] photographic…errors.” You can’t really see it on the jpeg, but it’s there. Not responsible for typographic errors. Now I assume this has something to do with someone claiming an item is $5.99 in the flyer when it is actually $7.99 in the store. People pitch fits about that all the time. But A.C. Moore should know better. That flyer goes through at least 3 people other than the designer before it is printed and distributed. There should be no excuse for errors.


And that’s where I get into responsible design. I can only write about my views on the subject, so I would love to hear more of what other designers have to say.

01) No typographical errors. Period. How often has this been drilled in our heads in high school, college and on the job? A spelling error will make or break a resume, which could affect the whole outcome of your entire life! Why would you treat your work any differently? I have learned this the hard way, and that is why you check and recheck and have others check until you know it is absolutely perfect.

02)  There are some colors that just do not go together. Any holiday colors, for instance (unless they are for holiday artwork). Black and orange = no. Red and green = definitely not. You have to be really innovative to make certain colors work.

03) Do not ever use clip-art and/or photoshop filters to mask the fact that you can’t draw or don’t have an imagination. If I ever see clip-art again on something professional, I’m going to need therapy. And I am proud to say that I haven’t used a photoshop filter in 4 years. It can happen to you too. Plastic Wrap does not make everything look cool.  

04) Comic Sans is a font created by the devil himself. He had a previous idea for Hell-vetica, but that was obviously taken before he could copyright it. So he decided to design the most awful font he could imagine…one that would be used worldwide by young, inexperienced designers and that would be despised by anyone who knew anything about design. He’s done a great job. Unfortunately.

More will come as I think of them. Feel free to add your own. And please self-spell check your comments. And I’m not respnsbile fro my errers.