Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sign Of The Times

There's a really nice walking/running/biking trail here in my home town of Evansville. It's kind of a hidden gem, and one of the better things in this godforsaken burgh, er, I mean town. I walk on it every weekend that I can.

Last week I noticed this sign had been placed along the trail. 

At first glance, I honestly thought it was an urgent plea warning citizens NOT to exercise! Believe me, something like that would not be out of the question around these portly parts. After all, Evansville's not exactly Fitness Town, USA.

As I read it though, I realized it was a (supposedly) humorous sign encouraging people to get up and move. 

OK, I get the joke— exercise causes "side effect," but they're the good kind. Com-O-Dee! But the whole thing is written very, very awkwardly. For example, that second sentence is directly referencing something way down below the third sentence, which is the worst possible way to lay out a sign.

Why not just reword it to say:

Research has shown that exercise causes the following side effects:
• Increase In Energy • Weight Loss • Reduced Stress • Immunity Boost • Happiness
Brought to you by yadda yadda.

BOOM! Done! Finished! And much, much clearer and to the point. You're welcome, whoever paid for this sign.

And why is there so much extra leading (vertical spacing, for you non-graphic designers) between the second and third sentences? You generally increase the leading between paragraphs, not between random sentences. This is what we in the business call a "mistake."

One last thing about this sign: why the hell is it on the TRAIL to begin with? Why did they go to all the trouble and expense to put up a sign that encourages people to exercise on a walking trail where the only people who see it are ALREADY exercising?

Wouldn't it have made infinitely more sense to post this thing at the entrance of the local Big Belly Burger, comic shop or video game store?

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