In choir last night we worked on Rutter’s Gloria. For some reason, the mental image that goes along with this piece, for me, is of a small choir on a snowy city street corner. They’re all shopping and meeting up with friends and such, and then as in an old fashioned musical they coalesce into a singing group. I see them stylishly dressed in deep cobalt blue and bright cardinal red, velvet and taffeta, with whimsical fascinators and cocktail hats perched on shiny curls, or suave dinner jackets and springy hair.

It’s a great piece.

After choir I met with the pastor for several hours to go over the church’s publications.The choir director and I had had some discussion of ways to reduce paper use. As an Earth Care Congregation, we do our best to be responsible about paper use, but somehow the bulletin has crept up to six or more pages some weeks and the newsletter is more like 16. At the same time, it’s important to keep things highly readable.

We talked about kerning, about changing to a serif font for greater print readability, about reducing the font size while printing some large-type copies for those with limited vision or presbyopia. But we also talked about volunteer’s feelings. This is why she wanted to meet with me separately before the committee meeting where I wanted to discuss the issue.

I know from my work and my teaching that people get attached to their words. But it hadn’t occurred to me that they might also be attached to their formatting to the point where they’ll have trouble accepting the idea of a simple, consistent layout.

Here’s a good example:

Lorem Ipsum

“Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…”


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc tempus scelerisque metus ut imperdiet. Phasellus pellentesque ligula non volutpat efficitur. Nullam eget consectetur nulla. Sed venenatis dui eu fringilla lacinia. Donec maximus pharetra lobortis. Aenean blandit lacus et magna tristique, sagittis malesuada nunc laoreet. Pellentesque dignissim commodo sem, at ultrices arcu viverra ut. Nulla in augue eget nisi bibendum mollis. Aliquam sit amet efficitur odio, et congue velit. Pellentesque ut leo finibus, tempus massa non, lobortis neque. Fusce luctus nisi est, sed pulvinar dui lobortis sit amet. Curabitur in efficitur enim. In a tincidunt diam. Phasellus augue mi, placerat nec euismod quis, efficitur id mi.

Nullam ac ipsum at neque posuere consectetur. Sed lacinia tortor finibus commodo varius. Curabitur non massa ac turpis condimentum consectetur venenatis eu diam. Vivamus cursus mauris nec ipsum pretium vehicula non a ipsum. Praesent metus lacus, fermentum in maximus vel, feugiat in dui. Praesent ac imperdiet mauris. Maecenas pellentesque blandit libero egestas ornare. Sed pharetra euismod feugiat. Nulla rutrum erat purus, quis bibendum risus malesuada id. Donec egestas consequat feugiat. Fusce cursus sodales blandit. Integer pellentesque porta dolor, eu vestibulum massa convallis ac.

Ut rhoncus dapibus libero nec luctus. Pellentesque id urna viverra, dapibus erat in, elementum dui. Sed pharetra luctus lacus eget tincidunt. Sed ipsum felis, ultrices vitae fringilla id, venenatis non ante. Integer quis tristique ligula. Pellentesque vulputate dolor odio, id fermentum lacus eleifend vitae. Vivamus urna nisi, egestas nec blandit nec, ultricies quis arcu. Proin a accumsan sapien. Donec sed dui ultrices, mollis leo hendrerit, mollis mauris.

Nulla magna mi, laoreet eu magna in, lobortis dictum lectus. In aliquam magna eu erat imperdiet, ut vestibulum mi mollis. Morbi feugiat, orci quis semper scelerisque, odio quam semper augue, vitae tempor mi nunc eget enim. Vivamus venenatis nulla eros, id cursus urna luctus nec. In sapien orci, ornare ut metus sit amet, ullamcorper tempor tortor. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Nunc eget velit pulvinar, ultricies dui et, ultricies orci. Duis ultrices malesuada fermentum. Suspendisse auctor ex non semper faucibus. Praesent non interdum eros, nec congue ante. Integer vel massa malesuada, posuere nisl ut, pellentesque massa. Praesent euismod at augue id elementum. Mauris varius sem dui, ut elementum metus placerat vitae. Sed ut quam egestas, dapibus lorem vel, pulvinar odio.

Here’s what happens:

Lorem Ipsum

“Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…”


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc tempus scelerisque metus ut imperdiet. Phasellus pellentesque ligula non volutpat efficitur. Nullam eget consectetur nulla. Sed venenatis dui eu fringilla lacinia. Donec maximus pharetra lobortis. Aenean blandit lacus et magna tristique, sagittis malesuada nunc laoreet. Pellentesque dignissim commodo sem, at ultrices arcu viverra ut.

Nulla in augue eget nisi bibendum mollis. Aliquam sit amet efficitur odio, et congue velit. Pellentesque ut leo finibus, tempus massa non, lobortis neque. Fusce luctus nisi est, sed pulvinar dui lobortis sit amet. Curabitur in efficitur enim. In a tincidunt diam. Phasellus augue mi, placerat nec euismod quis, efficitur id mi.

Nullam ac ipsum at neque posuere consectetur. Sed lacinia tortor finibus commodo varius. Curabitur non massa ac turpis condimentum consectetur venenatis eu diam. Vivamus cursus mauris nec ipsum pretium vehicula non a ipsum. Praesent metus lacus, fermentum in maximus vel, feugiat in dui. Praesent ac imperdiet mauris. Maecenas pellentesque blandit libero egestas ornare. Sed pharetra euismod feugiat. Nulla rutrum erat purus, quis bibendum risus malesuada id. Donec egestas consequat feugiat. Fusce cursus sodales blandit. Integer pellentesque porta dolor, eu vestibulum massa convallis ac.

UT RHONCUS dapibus libero nec luctus. Pellentesque id urna viverra, dapibus erat in, elementum dui. Sed pharetra luctus lacus eget tincidunt. Sed ipsum felis, ultrices vitae fringilla id, venenatis non ante. Integer quis tristique ligula.

Pellentesque vulputate dolor odio, id fermentum lacus eleifend vitae. Vivamus urna nisi, egestas nec blandit nec, ultricies quis arcu. Proin a accumsan sapien. Donec sed dui ultrices, mollis leo hendrerit, mollis mauris.

NULLA MAGNA MI

laoreet eu magna in, lobortis dictum lectus. In aliquam magna eu erat imperdiet, ut vestibulum mi mollis. Morbi feugiat, orci quis semper scelerisque, odio quam semper augue, vitae tempor mi nunc eget enim. Vivamus venenatis nulla eros, id cursus urna luctus nec. In sapien orci, ornare ut metus sit amet, ullamcorper tempor tortor. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos.

Nunc eget velit pulvinar, ultricies dui et, ultricies orci. Duis ultrices malesuada fermentum. Suspendisse auctor ex non semper faucibus. Praesent non interdum eros, nec congue ante. Integer vel massa malesuada, posuere nisl ut, pellentesque massa. Praesent euismod at augue id elementum. Mauris varius sem dui, ut elementum metus placerat vitae. Sed ut quam egestas, dapibus lorem vel, pulvinar odio.

Actually, it gets worse because there will also be multiple fonts, multiple font sizes, random borders and boxes and background colors, and incompatible images with all different placements. Is it not obvious that ill thought out random visual clutter is harder to read and produces a chaotic feeling?

Well, no it isn’t obvious. It’s like poor pitch: people don’t perceive these things without training. But I think that somewhere in their brains they do feel it. And it makes them nervous, or at least less likely to read the page.

I’m not nervous, but I am tired. I stayed up too late after the debate, and have been waking way too early since then. Last night I got home around midnight and couldn’t get to sleep. Now I can’t quite wake up.