Why the Text on Labels is Getting Smaller

Guest post by Kim White, WebDesignforWriters.com

I don’t generally buy into conspiracy theories, but I’m really getting suspicious about the font size on the products I’ve purchased lately. Is there something these big name, multi-national corporations don’t want me to know? Is there saccharine in my tea? Asbestos in my undies? I think something’s up and here’s why.

When I was a kid all the print on products was large and easy to read. We were able to scan the fine print and then blatantly ignore the warning on the Reddi  Wip can that said not to insert the nozzle directly into the mouth for an instant shot of whipped cream.

We took this kind of labeling for granted back then and it has cost us. Now, to read the warning label on  a can of Reddi  Wip, I have to take the can into strong light and then practically hold it out at arm’s length to maybe make out a few words!  (Note: I was hoping that with all the technological improvements in the last 30 years, it might now be ok to do a whipped cream shot. It’s not. NASA, can you look into this?)

Why hasn’t anyone else pointed out this problem of fine print getting not so finer but ever so smaller? The answer is simple, it has happened so slowly that we didn’t notice the change. How? Now that we’re into the digital age of printing, half point font sizes are possible. Companies have likely reduced the font size on labels about that much each year. In ten years, they could go, for example, from 12pt type to 7pt type and we’d never notice.  And younger people have never known it any other way so they haven’t noticed at all!

You’ve gone too far now, big companies hiding secrets from us. What next? Government secrets embedded in shampoo labels, used to pass Intel from the grocery store shelf to a carefully planted operative wielding a high-powered magnifying glass? Well, I’m blowing your cover! We know you are deliberately making the print on labels too small for us to read. My hope is that in exposing your scam you’ll soon get back to a printing a label that I can easily read. Something around 48pt type would be good.

Kim White lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida with her husband and two Egyptian Mau cats. She’s a graduate of the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has over 12 years professional experience in Web design and management. For more on Kim, go to WebDesignforWriters.com.

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2 Responses to Why the Text on Labels is Getting Smaller

  1. I just knew something was going on under our noses. And, yeah, I’m with ya on the Reddi Wip, too, sister!

  2. Marc Daubert says:

    Many labels are nearly microscopic and look like a gray blur to kids and adults.
    ” Where are the sell – by dates ? ” I said, pulling out my # 2 reading glasses.
    “Sometimes it’s a CODE that is understood by the manufacturer only.”said the store clerk.
    ” Oh. ” I said.

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