Sunday, March 15 2009

A glint of silver

The oddly-named band Bump of Chicken has had a number of hits in Japan, with their songs being used in commercials, games, anime, and, of course, my reading class. Not all of it is to my taste, but I liked the latest one enough to pick up the album last time I was in Kinokuniya.

The designer was an asshole. The front, back, and spine are snow white, with lightly embossed text. Until you get it out of the shrink-wrap, it’s almost impossible to tell that there is text on the cover, much less figure out what it says.

But the fun doesn’t end there. A while back, I complained about the moron who decided to print the liner notes for Aya Matsuura’s latest album in 6-point gothic kanji, including one illegible song that had white text on a light-gray, color-halftoned background. The halftoning made sure that you couldn’t even scan it and blow it up to a reasonable size; the text just disappeared into the dots.

The person responsible for the liner notes in Present from you avoided the halftone trap by printing the lyrics on a nice, clean white background. In 6-point metallic silver ink. Unless you’re under carefully-diffused lighting, you can’t even get an entire line of text to show up clearly at the same time, and the eyestrain from reading 6-point reflective type is insane.

The only good news is that metallic silver is a spot ink, not a process color, so if my scanner can cope with the reflections, I can blow it up to a decent size and hack the contrast into something legible.