A friend send me a link to the Design Police, where you can download cut-out labels that can be stuck onto offending examples of bad typography and design. The very first of the stickers, all of which are stark white on red, says, “Kern this!” with a pointing arrow. Among the noteworthy stickers are: “Hierarchy required”; “Track this!”; “Display font unreadable as body copy”; “Please reduce line length immediately”; “Do not use faux italic”; and the ever-popular “Comic Sans is illegal.” (Sorry, Vinnie.) I particularly like “Caution: rivers,” which really does sound like a warning sign.
A couple of them have more to do with content than with graphic design, though they’re good advice: “Get your tone of voice right” and “Hire a copywriter.” And the huge, stark “WIDOW” could easily be applied too freely; there are worse things than widows on a page. My personal favorite, though, must be: “Microsoft Word™ is not a design tool.”
Well, all right, anything can be a design tool, in the right hands. But still.