If there is one thing I notice (too much), it is fonts.

I love fonts. I love seeing the differences and subtle uniqueness.  Just a slight change in the “weight” of a font can give a word more “weight” in its presentation.   In fonts, the depth, or lack of, understanding of the principles of Consistency and Clarity becomes obvious.

While driving, I am amazed at the number of billboards that are simply unreadable because of the lack of a contrasting or sizeable font.  Ultimately, most billboards lack clarity – I am rarely sure what the billboard is about with less than a 3-second glance.

The amount of signs that we are faced with on a daily basis is overwhelming.  Try counting the signs you see (or don’t see) in a day or a week.  Make note of the hastily printed or handwritten signs that we place around office kitchens, restrooms, elevators, doors, etc.   The funny thing is that these signs are there as instructions – an imperative for people to perform a specific action, yet the sign itself rarely has the clarity and consistency of authority.

Which is why this sign was one that simply made me happy:

A temporary sign at the Niagara Falls Hilton

In a world of hastily written signs on 8.5 x 11 printer paper, this was a refreshing change.  The consistency of using the same font as the Hilton brand and the color scheme of the emergency sign was just a wonderful example of class and Clarity.  The Niagara Falls Hilton took the time to have a sign professionally printed that consistently matched the branding, color scheme, and required size for the announcement.

The time it took to decide this, rather than print out a message on a printer and scotch-tape it to the window.  It certainly would have been faster, cheaper and probably just as effective – wouldn’t it?  Or would a guest see that as being cheap and chintzy?

The size, brand, color consistency and clarity of the sign provides a clear, official and  – even more – confidence in the message.  A hastily printed sign in this situation would indicate a temporary need – something is wrong.  A professional, clear and consistent sign presents confidence and clarity, regardless of the issue.  It looks professional, so we usually don’t second guess it.  That’s the benefit of clarity and consistency.

What signs, instructions and presentations to you give your clients that are hastily assembled?  How often do you take the time and energy to review the clarity of the messages and the consistency with your brand?  Does your messaging provide a consistent presentation to the world, or even just to your office environment?