16 October 2007

[media, design] KVAL's New Graphics: First, Fair, Accurit

1019. As I've said, we've not seeing the complete graphics for The Flag's Eugene outlet, CBS affiliate KVAL, broadcasting on Channel 13. But we have glimpses. And much as KATU has the new tagline On Your Side (promoted from segement title), KVAL's is First. Fair. Accurate.

So unintentional humor is supplied by pictures like this:

And this:

So what's wrong with these pictures? Look reeeeeal close at the graphic in the Vanna boxes. First @ at 6. First @ at 11. Yep. Read cold, that's "First at at 6", and "First at at 11." That they are directly over the First•Fair•Accurate tagline (note the similarity in type to much of KATU's new house graphics font) and the jest becomes infinitely ironic as well.

Remember, reading is fundamental. Proofreading moreso. But I wonder if proofreading would have vetted that. People do tend to read somewhat on autopilot–even I looked right past the at-sign followed by the word "at" a few times, because the point was to highlight the similarity between that graphic and this one:

This is the lead "Big Story" graphic for the headline piece, which is used by KIMA and KEPR (and the other stations we've been following, Boise's KBCI and IF's KIDK). The similarity in graphic approach needs scarcely be pointed out. These second-tier market stations are going for a unified approach–it could be a matter of economics, it could be they just all like the look (it does work pretty well) and go with the fashion.

Back to the funny bit, though; this is another case of where even a practiced eye (being CBS, it's ironic, neh?) can look right past an obvious problem. We've all read right past obvious gaffes in our own writings because our brain does a bit of preprocessing when ever it reads, and an @ sign, being a symbol rather than an alphabetic glyph, can be reduced by the mind to the status of an ornament and deleted from awareness. of course, this is why one must be so careful when crafting things like this. I call it a "Paris in the the Spring" problem, after the famous visual gotcha that has those words arranged in a triangle such that there is a line break between the two the's; your eye and mind see just one "the" unless you take it carefully.

Another possible problem is that some uppity smartass blogger with graphic and type proclivites would spot that and gently (and respectfully, we hasten to ad) mock you over it.

So, actually this discourse works on two levels.

They'll probably want to adjust that graphic, though.

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The Portland Writer said...

Love the KVAL photos! That is just so TV news (and I should know, I work at KATU). I remember when we did a big series on tsunamis and spelled the word tsunami wrong on the flashy story graphics... and I could list so many more hilarious boo-boos I've seen over the years. Paying attention to detail is just not a strong suit in TV news.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well taken. It's hard not to react to such things because me, as a layman and viewer thing Chee, it's the NEWS, you'd think they'd look over this stuff really carefully.

So you see "First @ at 6", and you have yourself a Scooby-moment right there. I mean, it's not like they just introduced the @-glyph to regular use just last year. Even babies know what that means (at least I think they do...they're getting SSN's and credit cards before they're even born, or so I hear).

Must have something to do with the pressure of getting a show on the air? That must be monster.

kval insider said...

Well, we're not perfect, but the graphics were fixed and the "@ at" over the shoulders apparently only made it on for a day or two. We did get a good laugh out of this.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

@ kval insider:

I'm glad you saw the humor in it. Truth be told, I felt a little reticent in poking fun at the graphic; after all, here am I, a no-talent pipsqueak designer in Portland addicted to logos and type. But once that thing got in my head, there was no letting go.

You folks are good sports about it, and no mistake. I only wish I could be in your position...

Thanks for commenting on it, which is most highly skookum.

Eric said...

While we're poking fun at graphics, I can't help but notice "minutiae" is spelled incorrectly in the header of this site.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

While we're poking fun at graphics, I can't help but notice "minutiae" is spelled incorrectly in the header of this site.


It's a fair cop!

I'll change it as soon as I can find the original graphic...

Good catch.

Eric said...

No problem... just couldn't resist. :-)

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Nothing amiss here, my friend. I needed an irony boost anyway.