Not Entirely Clear on the Concept

While standing in line at the grocery store the other day I happened to notice a Michael Jackson fan magazine from the publishers of Black Men magazine. It was notable because it featured our font designs prety prominently, and even more so for using one of them so remarkably incompetently.

The back cover had a nice title done in Butterfield, but on the front cover and two of the interior poster spreads they decided to do Michael Jackson’s name in Ardenwood. That’s great, but ther’s a problem. They set the whole name in the upper case character set, as demonstrated in the first example in the graphic to the left. The result is not visually pleasing.

Ardenwood was designed with the intention that you would use a combination of the unadorned lower case characters with the adorned upper case characters. As you can see, just using the upper case creates a horrible mess, with flourishes overlapping and obscuring each other and generally looking crowded and poorly thought out. The second and third examples show a couple of ways that Ardenwood could have been used which integrate the upper and lower character sets much better and produce a visually more appealing result without all the mess.

Picky, I know, but it bugs me. Michael Jackson may have lived a life of excess, but using excessive decorative characters when setting his name is too much of a good thing.

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