With a first anniversary just around the corner, I, like any good wife, decided to hit the internet to give my husband some gift ideas. While perusing Tiffany & Co., I was surprised and, I hate to admit, disturbed to see a new line of their sterling silver jewelry. Normally, this would thrill me. I think the “Return to Tiffany” line is darling. However, this new line features Zapfino, a script font I once enjoyed, but has now been brutally overused. Here are a few of the numerous examples of its use: on the back of an RV I saw today (“The “Phaeton”), on an specialty Illinois license plate, on a Pottery Barn line of sheets, on Trader Joe’s pasta packaging, on Gaiam product packaging, and on numerous wedding invitations and logos worldwide. In short, it’s been used frequently when a client has told graphic designers to portray a product’s “elegance.”
I remember when I first used Zapfino, and I think my experience is similar to many of my fellow designers. We loved it, used it on a few projects, but then realized that everyone else was using it, too. It’s like overdosing on your favorite food or drink. It tasted so good at the time, but then afterward you felt sick, and even now the sight or smell of that item brings back waves of nausea.
I cannot blame the font’s creator, the talented Hermann Zapf, a prolific font designer, because Zapfino is truly a lovely calligraphic script and was well-designed with a large collection of glyphs to emulate handwriting variation. How was Zapf to know that 11 years after Zapfino’s release designers everywhere would balk at the site of it? The font has been now used to the point of exhaustion. It no longer says original, special, handwritten, unique or elegant because we see it all the time. Hence, my deep distrubance that it’s now on a line of high end jewelry. Tiffany’s, I expect better.
So, Husband, if you’re reading this, please take note. Not this line for your graphic designer wife, but virtually everything else here (in silver or platinum) is fair game.
(Images from the Tiffany & Co. website.)