Design sites don’t do Web standards. We know that already. But can’t they even copy-edit?

Adrian Shaughnessy wrote “Wolff Olins: Expectations Confounded,” published at the Creative Review site, a diabolical nightmare of misaligned blocks and flashing doodads. (Excerpted; note dashes, hyphens.)

They have complained about not being listened to in the way other professionals are – accountants, lawyers, management consultants. But most of all, designers have complained that business doesn’t take design seriously.

In the 1980s, smart design groups reali[z]ed that the way to muscle into the boardrooms was to downplay design and creativity, and to elevate strategy and research. The result of this shift in emphasis was that the business world started to take design—and designers—more seriously.

So it seemed like a good moment to see if Wolff Olins (part of the Omnicom media conglomerate) has found the secret of being taken seriously by top-flight clients and yet still managing to produce work that is successful, news – worthy and distinctive.

Today we see it much more about the relation – ship between the corporation and the consumer, and the corporation being positioned in the real world.

They have to sell their ideas to hard-nosed businesses and public bodies drowning in account – ability and evaluation criteria. High-end creativity is not easy in this environment, and it’s rare to find it.

It’s as though this were exported from a Quark document, with soft hyphens converted to hard hyphens. Or it’s as though any word whose morphemes are also full words was separated with space-endash-space. You get different versions of this document onscreen and in print, and different versions again in different browsers. (The print stylesheet, straight out of 1997, uses giant underlined Times Bold.)

Upon checking, they’re using the soft-hyphen character, U+00AD, which they should know not to use. Nonetheless, a decision needs to be made against nospace-emdash-nospace (which doesn’t work online and only barely works sometimes in print) and in favour of space-endash-space.

As with design magazines, design blogs are unnaturally difficult to read. Design sites are to the Web what Republicans are to blacks: They try and try to talk a good game, but at inconvenient moments the truth of their hatred pops out.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.02.01 13:09. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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