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November 18, 2004

At the Guardian

"Can you spell with speed, accuracy and under pressure?" This is a question to which we wanted answers. We urged Professor Vivian Cook, professor of applied linguistics at the University of Newcastle and author of Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary or Why Can't Anybody Spell?, to supply us with 10 of the most orthographically problematic words in the English language. We then rang likely people to find out if they could spell all of them correctly. Sadly, a high proportion of them either did not reply or got someone to ring and say they were very busy - far, far too busy in fact, to take the test. Or maybe just scared...

[link]

[Also: Spellbound]

Posted by tplambeck at 11:50 PM

The hidden arrow

From an interview with the graphic designer who came up with the FedEx logo:

The power of the hidden arrow is simply that it is a "hidden bonus." It is a positive-reverse optical kind of thing: either you see it or you don't. Importantly, not "getting the punch line" by not seeing the arrow, does not reduce the impact of the logo's essential communication. The power of the logo and the FedEx marketing supporting the logo is strong enough to convey clearly FedEx brand positioning. On the other hand, if you do see the arrow, or someone points it out to you, you won't forget it. I can't tell you how many people have told me how much fun they have asking others "if they can spot 'something' in the logo." To have filled in the arrow, or to somehow make it more "visible" would have been like Henny Youngman saying "Please take my wife" instead of "Take my wife. Please." Punch lines that need to be explained are neither funny nor memorable.
Posted by tplambeck at 12:02 AM

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