Use typographic variations with restraint

I’m reading Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability, and I can’t help but share the following since it’s something I’ve seen incredibly frequently, from library resources guides to I&R intake screenings:

You MAY be tempted to use bold, italic, and CAPITALS and underlining to emphasize IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Problem: you can END UP with a sort of VISUAL SOUP where none of the emphasis works.

It’s challenging to design a user manual, resource guide, or other sort of instructional document without falling back on these kinds of typographic variations.  There are so many points that need to be emphasized, and you want to make sure your audience (readers or end-users) pays attention to the important information.  Here’s some advice that seems good:


There’s so much to find on the web about this topic, it’s hard to know where to start.  Here’s one suggestion with (probably) more to come as I continue to investigate usability and user experience in the world of online forms.


visualizing the LCSH, weeks 50 & 51

150 Educational films [May Subd Geog] [sp2001000481]
* 680 This heading is used as a topical heading for works about films that are intended to impart knowledge and information, including those for classroom viewing. Works about films designed to impart skills or techniques to general audiences, typically in a “how‑to” manner, are entered under Instructional films. When used as topical headings they are subdivided by the appropriate geographic, topical, and/or form subdivisions.

150 Gymnastics for boys [May Subd Geog] [sp2009008865]
* 550 BT Gymnastics for children CANCEL
* 550 BT Sports for children

(New York Times image attributed to Frederic J. Brown)

150 Machinery in motion pictures [Not Subd Geog] [sp2009009670]
053 PN1995.9.M18
550 BT Motion pictures

151 NGC 300 (Galaxy) [sp2009009615]
667 This heading is not valid for use as a geographic subdivision.
451 UF Dun 530 (Galaxy)
451 UF GC 169 (Galaxy)
451 UF H 2359 (Galaxy)
451 UF NGC300 (Galaxy)
550 BT Spiral galaxies

(image from

150 Peddlers and peddling in art CANCEL
150 Peddlers in art [Not Subd Geog] [sp 85099130]
450 UF Peddlers and peddling in art [EARLIER FORM OF HEADING]

(“Marchand d’abat-jour, rue Lepic” – Eugène Atget. albumen print (c.1900) from the George Eastman House collection on Flickr.)

150 Precarious employment [May Subd Geog] [sp2009008937]
680 Here are entered works on labor that is poorly paid, unregulated, and lacks job
450 UF Employment, Precarious
550 BT Labor

Gus Powell – from “Voetganger Amsterdam” series
for now I went with a more literal interpretation of “precarious”.

150 Absence in motion pictures [Not Subd Geog] [sp2009009505]
550 BT Motion pictures

150 Ceilings—Decoration [May Subd Geog] [sp2009010550]
550 BT Decoration and ornament

(a picture of a ceiling at the Library of Congress, from my Flickr)

150 Corn—Utilization [May Subd Geog] [sp 86004524]
* 681 Example under Plants, Useful CANCEL
* 681 Example under Plants, Useful; Wildlife utilization

(vintage postcard from Jasperdo’s Flickr photostream)

(USA Today article)
I have actually been to the Corn Palace!

150 Rock musicians in art [Not Subd Geog] [sp2009010571]

(both illustrations by Max Dalton. “Guitar Lessons” discovered via World Famous Design Junkies)

Ads of the world

Ads of the world

I just came across this website through my extracurricular blog reading, but it seems like it could be useful for some of the marketing research questions we receive at the library (especially on the elusive topic of online advertising). The ad images and embedded videos can be browsed by media type, region, country, or industry. “Or” being an important word there, because it doesn’t seem like you can combine these categories to refine your search. Using the free text search box and searching by the category names (e.g. “TV Americas”) will return results, but they’re not limited just to ads that are tagged with those terms. Additionally, you can browse logos by category/industry and country. All the examples I looked at included production/creator credits for the ads. It seems like this might be a good way to track marketing trends, although it’s unclear how broad the coverage is. Also, it’s unclear exactly what criteria determine whether ads make it (or don’t make it) onto the site. The “Upload” page seems to imply that most, if not all, the content is submitted by advertising professionals and/or students, aka the people who are responsible for creating the content. Then there’s some sort of editorial/filtering process.

Even if I never end up using this site to help with research questions, I will definitely have fun browsing it. It’s interesting just to see the colors and styles that predominate certain media types, regions, and industries.

my personal business periodicals awards

I work with business periodicals every day. I’ve started to form a personal attachment to many of them. I’ve also formed some opinions about which ones deserve to be mentioned in the…

1st annual business periodicals awards!

Best title (name):
Public Utilities Fortnightly
Beverage World
Information Technology and People

Best cover art:
Conference Board Review
Mergers & Acquisitions

Best overall design/navigability:
Harvard Business Review
MIT Sloan Management Review

Most fun to read:
Advertising Age
Network World

Most irresistable cover stories:

Between now and next year I’ll think of some new categories. But to be honest I hope to not be working with these same periodicals at this time next year. If you catch my drift.
Disclaimer: the opinions represented in this blog post (and this entire blog!) are my own and do not have the slightest thing to do with my employer. IN CASE THERE WAS ANY DOUBT.