the type in the following new york lottery ads is beautiful. the typeface itself is especially well crafted, and notice the attention to detail found in the custom ligatures and flourishes.

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but it is the beauty of the type design that makes that fact that it’s being used to tell an outright lie that much more disappointing. “watch green appear out of the blue” and “play now so future you can live it up later” are so far from the truth about the actual results of what purchasing a lotto ticket will afford the purchaser that it’s laughable.

or rather would be laughable if it weren’t so deceptive and manipulative. indeed, the odds of the purchaser “winning” the smallest prize, $2, which is the cost of the ticket, are 1:13. hardly “cash for life.” you’d be better off taking $10 and buying a six pack so that future you can live it up this evening.

do i have it all wrong? is there something i’m missing? i ask our representatives in the new york state government, is there a good explanation for what looks to me to be the outright deception of those encountering the ads?

and i ask ddb, the agency that created this cash for life ad campaign, is there any other way to interpret these taglines? i’m having a hard time seeing them as anything but flat out untrue.

i think we can do better than this, designers. i think we can use our abilities to create and promote ideas, services, and even products that will improve lives, build community and increase value in society, and yes, make a respectable living doing it. this cash for life seems to me to be making a promise that i will mostly never fulfill.

this site is a design site. i’m a designer, i post my design work and written thoughts on design. but, as i’ve been fortunate enough to build somewhat of an audience, i feel compelled to disseminate certain ideas and points of view that are dangerous and destructive to the establishment but healthy for you. however, the design disciplines are more than an appropriate forum for these ideas. so, you should work, as will i, to find application to you work as designer when i say;

you should question everything.

question your teachers, question your mom and dad, question your belief system, question your culture’s values, question your school, question yourself.

question the design industry, and “thought leaders,” question the rules of typography, question the ads and the brands, hold them to account.

question this very post and question me. i’m a father and a teacher. so, in a couple of ways even i myself become the establishment, and it is my hope that my children and students question me and everything i say. i’d rather my children and students question me thoroughly than follow me blindly. the probability is high that i’m off the mark in more ways than one.

i’m not advocating contrarianism. do not seek to prove something or someone wrong, only seek to prove it. if you question a thing and it proves to be false, then ignore it. if it proves to be true, accept it. if the answer is unclear, keep questioning.

keep questioning.

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