This past weekend, it was my pleasure and honor to attend a graduation ceremony here in New York. The ceremony was wonderful, the weather was beautiful, and after the festivities were over, all the graduates were invited to pick up their diplomas that very day. Upon picking up their diplomas, I heard mumbling and grumbling by some of the graduates. Their reason for complaint was the same: the font.

Yep. The font.

It seems the degree was printed using a fairly standard Times New Roman (or similar) typeface (admittedly, I couldn’t analyze it close enough to give a definite result.) Nonetheless, I sat back and enjoyed the reactions. This is my world, and this made me laugh. It also served as a reminder to me as to why design matters, even with something as trivial (to some) as the font.

The consensus by many that day seemed to be that they wanted a more ornate style font. They wanted something flashy, fancy, and complicated. In my view, they probably were yearning for a more Victorian style typeface. Perhaps along with a big, bombastic letter to start off the entire announcement, in true fairy tale fashion (think of a great big “O” in “Once upon a time…”)

The takeaway? Design really matters. The choice of font matters. Irrespective of the fact that I personally think the font chosen for this occasion was fine, it did change the perceptions of a large group of proud graduates on one sunny May day of celebration. That isn’t to say these vocal complaints were correct, but just to say that every detail matters.

Every designer should pay attention to every single detail of their craft. We never know what is going to matter to someone else.