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Jun 16, 2009



- It depends on wich Garamond you’re talking about


Ben, I was totally onboard at the beginning, it made me think of Lego mostly (and Powerpoint as a bad example) - not sure if that's the kind of thing you're talking about. But don't quite get the pub bench. I don't see where the choice is - you can't reconfigure it in any way, unless you're a carpenter.

And well, "All designers know that Garamond is not a good font"? A terribly sweeping statement unless you prefix Garamond with "ITC".

Regardless of that, I'm intrigued to hear more.


I wondered if you lot would spot the ITC.


Hi Ben, to get your thought process back on track it may be worth thinking about Brand / ID / Ad Guidelines, they tie you neatly back with the question 'What is good design?' and 'How to make it work'. Strangely though these 'restrictions' are aimed at designers (perhaps artworkers) and not the general public! With good and bad outcomes.


Filofax? Old school perhaps but with a Filofax you had limited choice but could configure your's to suit you. I used to love mine. And then there are those god-awful craft kits they flog on shopping channels that give you "everything you need to create your own beautiful shite". That's it isn't it - you're going to make a good on of those aren't you? No?


An interesting concept... I've long argued, whenever anyone's bothered to ask/listen, that too much freedom is a bad thing. It was the theme of one of the books I read at RCA, and has stuck with me since: that too many options are as restrictive to the consumer as too few. It sounds contradictory, until you come to choose shampoo in the supermarket or some such.

I suppose what is refreshing about limited-input programmes and products is the feeling of a hand steadying whatever they do, that it cannot be fucked up completely no matter how dry they are. It does require one to trust the brand though, and for their part requires tremendous sensitivity from the designer as they decide how to divvy control. Perhaps the consumer can choose how many options are available to alter...

The extension of this however, is that it might while boosting their confidence lead customers to believe they are designers. This could resurrect the tendency 10 years ago of the same style being vomited by amateur companies trying to cut monies in advertising. The return of wavy 3D caps selling WI cakes anyone? Pity the illustrators who used to do this stuff for them.


Yeah I really don't like those pub benches either - too constrictive really. Interesting to contrast software-based 'constraints' with real objects tho!


...and there's those bloody bears that your kids can "build" themselves while, ironically, you get fleeced in the process. A restricted "creative" process.


Thanks for linking to the DO ITC Garamond article; it contains my favourite sentence of the day (apart from all of yours, of course):

"The most distinctive element of the typeface is its enormous lower-case x-height. In theory this improves its legibilty, but only in the same way that dog poop's creamy consistency in theory should make it more edible."

(and is that how Americans spell 'legibility'? Like 'specialty')



Nice article.....I like that pub garden chair, they made nice design....


Continuing on my tangent, recommend the following


Emily Wilkinson

Hi Ben, check this out:

Dan Ariley talking about how the illusion of choice affects decision making. It made me think about the ethics of designing user decision making and the idea of user freedom/democracy...


Interesting. Though you have to also accept that some people might like what you define to be "ugly."

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