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Interview: Craig Ward talks graphic design lies and why you should stop hating Comic Sans

Neil Bennett | Oct. 29, 2012
We speak to the designer and art director about his book Popular Lies About Graphic Design.

"I actually love the idea of this little book living in designers' bathrooms all over the world; the kind of thing that anyone of any experience can dip in and out of."

NB: Is Comic Sans hated less for itself - even despite its ubiquity - but more as a symbol of the way that many people use fonts without any thought given to how they texture they text? And is this a form of snobbery in itself?

CW: "Definitely. As much as anyone likes to think that they're not a design snob, you're always judging other people's work - consciously or otherwise. Comic Sans has just had some really bad PR and that section represents kind of the fluffy side of the book which I wanted to put in there alongside some of the more worthy discussions."

NB: You argue that Helvetica isn't a "neutral" font and designers should ask themselves why they want such a font anyway. As more and more apps, sites and networks with a single typeface within them are being created that allow many forms of communication, do you think we need to use a greater choice of neutral typefaces for people to use within them? Faces that are as appropriate - or at least not inappropriate - to caption Chloe Sevigny Instagramming a cupcake as to say 'Call home. Something's happened to Dad.'

CW: "I think what we're seeing is another way in which the Internet has democratised and at the same time confused things.

"The breadth of content and opinions online means it's almost impossible to create a catch-all style for a website like Twitter, where you have people posting pictures of their lunch next to people announcing they've been diagnosed with cancer.

"The diversity on Twitter is actually astounding to me - there are whole sections of it that we never see. I sometimes click on those trending hashtags to see what they're about and the people responding to them are so far away from the kind of people I interact with day to day but, here we are, all using the same online space.

"Equally, sites like MySpace where people had more control over the look of their page (originally) probably failed (or were less successful in the long-term) because, you know what, I don't want to try and read about someone's life on top of a fucking floral background in yellow or pink text. People do make bad decisions visually when allowed to and so perhaps the neutrality that Facebook and Twitter offer are necessary."

NB: You say "stock photography has basically ruined the photography industry". Are 'crowdsourced' design services like 99designs and website template services from hosting firms doing the same to the design industry?


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