Over There (in the UK)

October 6, 2003 at 9 PM

Designing Democracy

More California election coverage: this time, “Why it’s time to redesign the ballot design process,” a concise review of what’s wrong with the official ballot. Somehow a state of 35 million failed to learn any lessons from that pregant-chad affair in Dade County, Fla.

It’s striking, actually, how rarely people note the importance of graphic design in society. It isn’t just about making things “look pretty”. Branding is what we do to cows, not people. Graphic design is the egg in the recipe for communication. Without it, coherent messages crumble into dry, shapeless data.

A quick glance at the ballot reveals a few obvious problems that interfere with its intended goal — casting a vote. As the article notes, the top of the ballot is a mish-mash of type weights and widths, for no obvious reason. A heavy, dark border surrounds the list of candidates, helping draw attention away from their actual names. The names are printed in capital letters, in a tightly-spaced, compressed font, also making them difficult to discern. The party affiliations immediately follow the names, rather than being aligned in a separate column, thus making it impossible to search for a candidate by his or her party.

Nobody needs a ballot to be beautiful, but shouldn’t the very essence of democracy aid, rather than impede, the process?


Nice use of Suburban!

Kate M. | Oct. 8, 2003 — 8 PM

Previously: Blinker the Star

Subsequently: Je vous remercie

October 2003
the Archives

In Earshot

I only really read it for Canucks coverage, but even still it’s nice that The Vancouver Sun finally redesigned its hideously awful website to look like it was designed this century.

On pizza box art

Web 2.Origami

Welcome to Obama, Japan

The Toronto Star shows where and how the seats changed in the 2008 election

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In Frame

Photo of Madrid Modern Photo of Wasp Photo of Hairy and Stripy Cactus Photo of Stripy