Can they see you when you are out of focus?

The culmination of hiring a new creative agency comes when they present concepts in a boardroom. Young-looking men and women dressed in black smile up front. Lights are dimmed. The marketing director cracks a joke about not giving the project to her 14-year-old cousin. A huge flat-panel video screen lights up. Music plays. And the executive audience, warmed by coffee and croissants and the anticipation that everyone is about to make a boatload of money, digests in crisp clarity the most beautiful rendition of their spot/ad/banner/video/viral/logo/website possible. Applause! Approved!

And then the work gets printed in cruddy newsprint, hangs on a dirty billboard unlit at night, or airs on TV while the target moms are distracted by fighting children.

German designer Ralf Herrmann confronts the problem of poor viewing conditions, at least in typography, with a new design tool that allows you to mess up the view — just like the ad impression will be corrupted in reality. For street signage, for example, you can simulate the blur that comes from seeing work at a distance, or under poor lighting, or other adverse viewing conditions. The reality issue is worth exploring for any creative treatment — how will consumers respond when your message is presented in the dirty material world and not the artificial clarity of a conference room’s plasma TV?

Via Ryan Kuder.

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