The Good; The Bad, and the Logical
Whether it's in the file you just created, the url you're looking at right now or your favorite 30 Rock character, "dots" are popping up everywhere. They are the new trend. (OK, so they are only relatively new, but they are definitely trendy.) No longer does the "dot" indicate punctuation or abbreviations, the "dot" is a way of making a statement and being digital. As with most trends there are ways to use it, and ways to not. As with all trends there is a time when it's no longer trendy. (I remember the first time I heard Dan Rather say "cool." Hhuuuu.) So, how do you know when to use the "dot" to your advantage and when it will just get in the way? I'll give three examples that should help us understand the Good, the Bad and the Logical of the "dot" Trend.
Tag, you're it.
Here we have some local photographers who know what they are doing. Honestly, I could go on and on about all the things I love about Smitten, but for the moment I will try to stay on topic. Smitten here has found a very good use for the dots in their branding. No, I'm not talking about ".com" in their logo. I'm talking about their tag lines! The less trendy site might read "FRESH FUN YOU" letting you infer an understood beginning. But these girls wanted to say something a little more. They let their brand speak for itself. Not, "This is fresh." but rather "FRESH-period." Then they when the extra mile. "FRESH. FUN. and (wait for it) YOU!" Genius. It's not just one tag. It's two statements and an exclamation! Well done ladies. (By the way, love the color scheme.)
This is the brand of a local clothing store. Their logo is nothing more than what you would get if you typed out the name using Marcell. Don't get me wrong; it works really well for them. But, they are the exception here, not the rule. Blush is a clothing store whose success hinges on being on the cusp of fashion. Their logo must change along with the trends. Being trendy is of chief importance and is duly conveyed through their brand. They've got a distressed font, black and pink colors and (oh look) a "dot." They are trendy! They are not you. As a rule, your brand should stand the test of time. When you go heavy on the trends you give your brand a shelf life of about twelve minutes. Trends come and go. And once they do, we usually laugh at people who are still sporting them. (Like the ONE time I did the Macarena!)
Can I have your number?
Here's the contact info of a fellow designer. In my opinion he's the best in town (and that means a lot considering he's my competition). The point is this: he knows what he's doing. Note that his phone number is displaying using "dots" instead of hyphens. Now, I don't know how much thought Bryan Haynes put in to this, but intentional or not... trendy or not there is some logic behind using "dots" in a phone number. The whole point is to separate the numbers. Area code. Prefix. Number. It helps the brain categorize them. It's what we call non-inclusive numbers. (It's why even though we see the .9 at the pump we always round down.) The point is that because a hyphen (-) is in the middle of the line it gives less of a vertical break than a "dot" (.) at the bottom of the line. In other words: in most fonts 229.234.0839 is easier for the mind to process at a glance than 229-234-0839.
Well, that's all I've got. I hope you enjoyed this little lesson. Have fund being trendy. Check out these businesses, and tell them you like their dots.