From the Design Desk: Design Humor

Perhaps this is true for a lot of professions, but there are some pretty amusing websites and videos dedicated to graphic design humor. On the typography front, there is the classic Font Conference by CollegeHumor in which the fonts of the world are voting on whether or not to give membership to Zapf Dingbats. But then Courier is taken hostage by Ransom, only to be rescued by… by… I dare not say!

CollegeHumor followed up Font Conference with Font Fight, a high action showdown between rival gangs Helvetica and Ariel. Neutra Face: An Ode On A Typeface is an homage to the Neutra typeface inspired by the song Poker Face by Lady Gaga. I love this video of geeky designers dancing on conference tables, straddling photocopiers, and caressing their books.

Make the Logo Bigger is another great design inspired music video. Other videos like Redesigning the Stop Sign and Yahoo! Hearts Creatives take a more sober approach, poking fun at the designer and client relationship in corporate environments. The client always “loves” the ideas presented to them but is never really satisfied until they’ve destroyed the original concept.

An epic design humor success is this email exchange on 27b/6 between a lady (Shannon Walkley) who’s lost her cat (Missy) and a graphic designer (David Thorne) who offers to design a missing cat poster for her. His design skills do not seem to be appreciated.

My favorite recent nugget of design humor is the site Hovering Art Directors. This site documents the phenomenon of “shoulder vultures” where colleagues gather around a working designer and take up the role of art director (whether or not they are in fact one). As soon as I saw this site I began to look around hoping to catch this phenomenon here. That’s when I snapped this pic of Senior Designer Brooke Johnson speaking with our design intern, Suzanne Baxter.

To be fair, Brooke was probably just passing on some instructions. The shoulder vulture style of art directing is not really a problem at Chronicle, where generally if someone is looking over our shoulder it’s because we’ve asked them to for efficiency or because we want their opinion. Still, it’s good to poke a little fun at ourselves from time to time and I’ll never tire of imagining fonts coming to life.

Suzanne LaGasa

P.S. On a related note, here’s a post about designers making funny work.



Leave a Comment