The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

The dreaded communications department.

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I’ve just returned from a trip to Philadelphia and New York.  While there I met with three different nonprofit organizations and in each conversation the challenges of working with a communications department that “just doesn’t get it” came up.  I know there are lots of things some communications departments don’t get but here’s something that may help–a little.

One of the most talented graphic designers (and fine artists) I know, Andy Farkas, sent me this great article, “Typography and the Aging Eye,”  from AIGA, the professional association for design.  You should forward it to your communications department, graphic designers or anyone you work with who helps you create gift planning marketing materials or any printed materials for that matter that are intended for an older audience.  It’s kindof geeky stuff for most of us but it’s a wonderful resource for designers.  It gives examples of typefaces to avoid (Bodoni Book, for example) and typefaces that are particularly good (Fruitiger).  It also gives some criteria for trying to judge whether a particular font will be readable or not.  Clicking on the article title will open up a pdf of the article.

Phyllis

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Written by Phyllis Freedman

November 9, 2009 at 11:36 pm

One Response

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  1. Hello, Phyllis. The thrust is absolutely right, and you’re taking note of a serious mistake: too often, younger designers do not take into account the visual limitations of the target audience who will read planned giving materials. But, I did want to note, the AIGA article you’ve cited refers to the use of typefaces on signage. Communications departments should not jump to the conclusion that this advice pertains equally well to body copy. No one with failing vision (my hand is raised here) reads without glasses; they simply can’t. And with glasses, character definition is fine for serif faces and sans serif faces are less desirable, based on the research done by Colin Wheildon. The example given in the AIGA article is the “Departures” sign at an airport, a 10-character word set in isolation; something that will be seen possibly at a distance, possibly by someone not wearing their corrective lenses. Reading a sign under those conditions is a very different experience than reading a page of copy.

    Tom Ahern

    November 21, 2009 at 11:47 am


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