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Part 3: CoronAlignment


We’ve lost alignment over social distancing and mask wearing

As designers, we always look to achieve balance, harmony and order in a layout so that our clients will focus on the message rather than mechanics of whatever communications we’re presenting. Letters and words are our bread and butter and making their message clear and compelling to everyone by applying best design practices is always the goal. Depending on our assignment, those best practices include employing any one of four common types of typographical alignment – left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, and justified. For the most part we don’t mix these alignments in a communication because that would confuse our audience, create dissonance and engender a lack of trust, which is why alignment is so important.

While the “social distancing” brand has been successfully deployed nationally at this stage of the country’s pandemic response, it seems that alignment is being lost in communicating the length of time we must continue practicing “social distancing,” and wear face masks, which is a sub-brand of “social distancing.” Absent the continued centralized messaging of Dr. Fauci aligning hearts and minds on TV every night, each state has gone off and deployed their own design brief based on their own aesthetic. Politically left-aligned state governments want to keep their states shut down until the science tells them it’s safe to emerge. Right-aligned states feel that the cure may do more harm than the disease and want people to return to work and be able to gather socially. Now. Both sides feel justified in their positions. And very few if any states fall in the center of this argument. As a country we are devolving from the short-term national alignment over “social distancing” and mask wearing into a Frankenstein design aesthetic of 50 states that is confusing and dissonant to the American people, fostering a lack of trust, the hallmark of poorly executed design, if not public policy.