Denny’s Daily Zinger: Desperately Needed—Adult Web Designers

My opinion: The majority of today’s Web designers think of themselves and not the reader.

Example: See the order form in the media player at right.

I ordered opera tickets from Philadelphia’s leading music venue.

Only two phrases are readable:

Thank you for your order!
Single Tickets
Everything I entered appears in light gray.

All else is light gray, light blue or light orange mouse-type.

I once asked long time reader Will Ezell what the hell these untrained, effete artistes think they are doing.

Will said he asked a Web designer why everything was in light, unreadable type.

The designer said, “I don’t want it to look horsy.”

To which Will replied, “Horse shit!”

Takeaway to Consider

  • Web designers are like Emperor Nero. They like to fiddle while the reader burns.
  • If your designer’s work is unreadable, send it back for surgery.
  • If no dramatic changes are made, fire the designer.

Denny Hatch‘s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Wesley Murph, The Marketing Maniac, writes, “I was just dropping you a line to let you know that I totally “dig” your new book. I haven’t gotten through it all. But what I have read, I love. In particular, I really enjoy your style. You call a spade a spade. And what’s cool is nine times out of ten you’re dead on the money. Keep up the great work!” Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first 3 Chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach him at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • Barry Dennis

    Denny, I think the problem originates in "guidance" from marketers. Without a knowledgeable marketer guiding the reins, young web designers want to demonstrte their aesthic provenance, their technical expertise. Without that, they are not as fully capable as they could be. Oh, and a little dash of common senxse and an appreciation of Who the customer is (Know Your Customer!!)would help.

  • Tim Orr

    Amen, brother! For too many of the designers I’ve known, type was nothing more than a graphic element to be manipulated and made to look pretty. They didn’t know how to sell or communicate, didn’t have any interest in learning to sell or communicate. They bought into this latter day mantra that design is the answer to every problem. Or, as an adman put it quite a few years ago, "You can always tell the art director in the room. He’s the one who already has a solution, even though he doesn’t yet know what the problem is." Their behavior is a variation on the old Max Schulman line, "It’s a lot easier to make a pretty girl smart than it is to make a smart girl pretty." And as anyone with maturity knows, in the long run, the ugly smart girl is a much better partner than the pretty dumb one.

  • Linda

    Thank you Denny! I have no idea why everyone seems to be moving to these light, hard to read colors! When I’m on a site and I can’t read the words, I immediately leave. It’s a waste of my valuable time. And you don’t just lose my business for that day, you’ve frustrated me and probably lost me for life. I don’t have time in my day to work at being able to give you my money.