Found on campus poster board

Golombisky, K. & Hagen, R. White Space is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually through Graphic, Web & Multimedia Design(2 edition). New York: Focal Press.

Kadavy, D. (2011). Design for hackers: Reverse-engineering beauty. Ch 3 “Medium and form in typography”; Appendix A “Choosing and pairing fonts”; Appendix B “Typographic Etiquette”


Fonts; Font Category; Font Size; Headings; Subheads; All Caps; Ascenders; Descenders


“Once you discover the big wide world of fonts, it’s easy to go nuts. But. Please. Resist. This. Urge. Nothing screams ‘amateur’ louder than using too many competing font styles” (Golombisky, p.90).

“Early printers were craftsmen. They dedicated their lives to printing beautiful typography. Their skills were specialized, and it showed in the quality of their work. Yet, they were limited by the type that was available to them. Contrast that with today's designer (anyone with access to a computer, really). Very few are formally trained to use typography, yet they have many more fonts at their disposal” (Kadavy, Appendix A).

Rhetorical Analysis

When I was trying to decide what I wanted to take a look at for this critical analysis, I decided to do what Jason did before the first week of class. I just wandered the halls of DePaul to take a look at the posters that are placed throughout when this poster jumped out at me, so I decided to choose it as my design to critique.

In this composition, you can see that there is a lot going on with a variety of design elements from visual hierarchy, color, visual ornamentation, but most importantly, typography. This poster is busy with a bunch of elements that Golombisky and Kadavy talk about in this week’s readings.

What initial grabbed my attention was the many different font styles which Golombisky would categorize as one of the 13 sins. First, the poster mixes both serif and san-serif fonts. Instead of doing what Kadavy suggests, use san-serif for the heading and serif for the body copy. This poster switches back and forth between the two categories with no straight-forward reason why.

Second, the poster breaks Golombisky’s rule of only using a maximum of two fonts which it uses at least three or four between the header, sub header, body copy and textual ornamentation. This makes the poster “visually overloaded and cluttered” (Golombisky, p. 35).

Third, is the weight and size of each block of text in this poster. The text jumps around from thin to medium to bold as well as back and forth between smaller font sizes to larger ones. This breaks down that visual hierarchy and confuses the viewer to not know what to focus on first and then move onto next.

The last element in this poster is one that Golombisky talks and that’s use all caps. “How do you ask for consent?” is all capitalized when it doesn’t need to be and makes it more difficult for the viewer to read instead of allowing the eye to experience the “ascenders and descenders that make up the unique shapes of text” (Golombisky, p.95). In addition, it interferes with the visual communication about consent this poster is trying to accomplish.


If you were given the opportunity to advise the designer of this poster, what would be your main critiques to them besides the typography elements I talked about? Next week we will be talking about color, can you think of some things that are hindering this poster because of color and that you would suggest to help this designer with conveying their message?