Why Design matters, even at the #Oscars!

By now, I’m sure everyone reading this would’ve caught up on the Oscars mix-up. The whole guffaw for the “Best Picture” award, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announcing La La Land as the recipient, when, in fact, Moonlight was the winner. Yes, we have all heard, we all know, but what’s design got to do with this?

Well, for starters, here is what the announcers are looking at:

Source: google.com

Pretty standard, right? I contains all the information needed; name of the winner and the names of the producers and somewhere, in the most inconspicuous spaces, the category for which it was nominated. Now consider this - if Mr. Beatty , who according to Wikipedia is almost 80 years old, had seen the category name first, right off the bat, he would’ve known that he had the wrong card and there would be no reason for the confusion and the whole he-said-she-said drama. That’s number one.

My next bit of annoyance stems from the envelope:

Source: google.com

It’s a beautiful red envelope with gold foil (?) print on it (again, I’m going off what I’m seeing and it is complete speculation). On a huge stage with numerous bright lights and clever light design, it is almost impossible to pay attention to what is written on the envelope. That, and also that most people wouldn’t really pay much attention to the envelope anyway. We are conditioned to just rip it apart and see what the goods are on the inside. No surprises there! But, this is what gets me, shouldn’t the designer have considered the accessibility aspect in print design too? Yellow/Gold on Red wouldn’t pass the WCAG test on the best of days, add to that the adrenalin of an event as huge as the Oscars, you are just asking for failure. I know, the Oscars isn’t a platform for web design but the principles of legibility are still valid, right?

The lesson here, for people in my line of work, at least is to return to the classics. Ignoring the basic principles of design hurts everyone. PwC is now suffering the consequences, but the problem, in my opinion is a lot more basic than just handing someone the wrong envelope. Which is why, I always say, Design Matters.