A few days ago, I gave my already rambunctious nine year old brother a packet of Woolies’ Speckled Eggs and they sent him into hyperactive delirium. That sounds melodramatic. He was fine. “Sugar high”, sigh the grown ups.
When I tried to read the ingredients on the packaging to see what might have caused the hysteria, the font was miniscule and I could not read it. Granted, I’ve been wearing contact lenses for ten years now, and my eyes aren’t the sharpest.
But even with them in, I felt I needed a magnifying glass to investigate further. It got me wondering whether or not there is a legal minimum for the font size of ingredients and instructions on packaging.
And I'm not alone:
As someone who only has 20/20 vision in their dreams, small-type can be incredibly frustrating, and these days it seems design aesthetics take precedence to legibility. It really surprises me that so much text is on the packaging, yet it doesn’t matter if the consumer can read it or not. Could this be pure design vanity?
Designing packaging - particularly for visually impaired consumers - can be a balancing act of two crucial design elements: text legibility and package size. My qualm with Woolworths is that they always have a relatively spacious canvas, yet their font size makes me feel like I’m failing an eye examination.
This is an issue that can be solved with a little creative thinking. I’m no graphic designer, but one way around the small font problem is to make illustrations and other graphic elements do the talking. Or, I don't know, just make the ingredients panel LARGER.