No Comments

FBI warnings should prevent unauthorized duplication, not proliferate type violations.

Type Violations Comments Off on FBI warnings should prevent unauthorized duplication, not proliferate type violations.

DVD Warning

They appear at the beginning of virtually every DVD or videotaped movie. We’ve all seen them but does anyone pay attention to them? I do, and I’m outraged! Not because I paid good money for a movie and should be able to make my own backups in case the disc goes bad without the fear of imprisonment being shoved down my throat, but because the schmos who design these title slugs don’t know how to follow some of the most basic rules of typesetting. Notice anything odd about line 2? How about line 3? If not, let me explain:

  1. When typesetting, do NOT use double spaces after a period. That is reserved for typewriters. Many of today’s young designers never had to use a real typewriter at all, so they have no business following the double space rule in the first place.
  2. Don’t justify text if your measure is not wide enough. Inevitably, some squishing or stretching will occur. A little here and there is not a problem, but this example clearly violates good legibility guidelines.

Is it possible that a single uninformed designer is responsible for every one of these title treatments? Most likely not. But we continually see the same problems over and over, so apparently people are just copying each others mistakes. Ironic, wouldn’t you say? Given that these warnings are designed to prevent duplication?

Check out a couple more examples:

DVD Warning 2

You might be saying to yourself, the way to solve this problem is to center the text. Well, that’s what this designer did…but they still overlooked the double space in line 3. Now, even though the text is centered, we’re still left with an odd overall shape—particularly on line 4—and an unsightly widow at the end. What’s a designer to do?

DVD Warning 3

So, killing the double spaces and moving to left justification of the text should fix it, right? Not if you’re this guy. Nice rag you got there on the right, fella. But at least the double space issue is fixed on this one…or is it? Check out line 7. A double space within a sentence. That’s some good work, right there.

You’d think that between the U.S. Government, Interpol and Hollywood, they’d be able to come up with one good designer between them, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to find one well-designed warning screen. Granted, there are a few that aren’t horrible, but for the most part, all of these screens look like they were hastily put together by some low-level production assistant. I don’t have a sample of one, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen the ones from Paramount or FOX that repeat their logos in a pattern in the background with copy set on top of it using an ornate typeface in all caps and a in light color causing all sorts of legibility issues. Oh, the shame of it all…we do better than this.If I had the time, I’d put together a library of warning screen templates at all of the relevant sizes and start plastering them all over the internet along with the source files in the hopes that someone would take notice and start using them. Based on how much they seem to be derived from one another, it may not take long to actually have an effect. That’s the optimist speaking. The pessimistic side of me would say, the so-called art for these slugs are already sitting in the libraries of post-production houses everywhere that the likelihood of change is slim. But then again, it gives me something to complain and write about, so I suppose that makes up for it all.

Ken @ January 27, 2008

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.