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What is with tiny text?

I see that as a design element it occasionally adds zing to icons. I am not sure why. I also have a vague feeling that the emperor has no clothes. Tiny text delivers no content and merely serves as another kind of texture, so why is it so "cool", so popular? I wonder if it is really delivering some sort of subliminal message that the aliens are coming to destroy the earth and we must all bow down and worship the Vorlon god Boojie. What gives?



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)
Personally, I don't get it--I'm a very verbal person, and the tiny text makes me feel like running for a magnifying glass so I can read it. Also, it kind of clutters the image. *sad face* Apparently, it's just a visual trope that you see a lot of for no apparent reason.
Nov. 24th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
Um. Because it's meant as a a texture? That's always been its point, I thought, since all of the text brushes I have I can't read, but some of them are really neat-looking; people who can make those types of brushes work for their icons usually end up with stunning icons (in my opinion). Of course, I'm not really an icon maker, so not sure what my opinion is worth, there.

It's like anything else that icon makers use—why do they use half the things they do? Why brushes? Why gradients? Why animation? Why the hundreds of other trends? Of course, most of the brushes I have came with text files sharing the sources of the text, so many I'm spoiled.
Nov. 25th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)
*Starts rambling about post-constructivist design before thinking better of it.*

Yes, they annoy me, too. I feel like I'm missing a piece when I can't read the text. But really? It probably is so popular because they reflect the designs we see in current magazine advertisements and such. They attempt to achieve the same visual balance in a tiny fraction of the space.
Nov. 26th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
Okay, so I'm not entirely certain how I ended up on this particular entry.... (::sweatdrop:: ) but I decided to pitch in my annoying $0.02. Tiny text bothers me because I really prefer to know exactly what is being said on my icons before I use them. Also it can lend a cluttered -- or rushed -- feeling to an icon. But really, my tastes in everything vary by the individual rather than the rule, so... :D

Overall, readable > tiny. But icon makers can use things I loathe to wondrous ends, so I can't really say I dislike it. [/useless]
Nov. 26th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
My question was rhetorical -- I know that they're textures, and I also can see what muggy's saying: the teensy little text tends to make the icons resemble movie posters or book covers with blurbs, which our eyes are used to seeing.

What puzzles me is why that looks more polished. It really does!

And on the other hand, with my bad vision, there's a part of my brain screaming, "What does it say? What does it say?" I tend to keep my computer's font bumped to 14 point so that I don't have to squint.

I'm always struggling to find ways to integrate legible text with my icons. I don't always succeed, mind!
Nov. 26th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC)
From what I can see that you've made in your userpics... you've done rather splendidly. And much better than some people who call themselves experienced icon-makers. ♥
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
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