Saturday, January 26, 2008

Design police

Thanks to Beth at the Brand Union for sending me this truly wonderful link to the Design Police*. It's obviously hit the spot because it's on practically every design blog - and has revealed one or two sense of humour failures, judging by some of the comments. This is just a close up of 5 pages of stickers.

*The Design Police are Stephen Woowat and Karl Goldstraw. There is an interview with them on FontShop's Unzipped blog.

I wonder if this doesn't represent a real insight into simple, engaging ways to represent good practice. Having said that, each rule invites the question 'why', and the answers would range from legibility research to simple 'nice boys/girls don't do that'. For example, using inch marks for quotations doesn't actually do anyone any harm, but it is a signifier of competence that people will judge you by – like using the wrong knife at dinner.

Inspired by the Design Police, I'm now speculating about repurposing road signs (not original, I know) to warn readers of problems ahead in complex writing. Here are some signs whose meaning I hope is clear: