As designers, our importance relies on being capable of seeing things where other people can’t, then come out with new ways of conveying things while showcasing a high level of aesthetics. I’ve decided to make this article after realizing how designers are becoming stagnant in respect of one of the most important aspects in design, typography. This article is a statement against the abuse of one of the nicest typefaces of present time, I’m talking about Pablo Impallari’s Lobster.
The reason why Lobster has received such acclamation relies on its careful design, a large number of ligatures and little touches, plus a high attention to details, making of Lobster an unique typeface element in its own kind. The font went mainstream once it was included in the Google Fonts API and everyone found out about its existence, since that day we have seen more and more sites, designs and applications adopting Lobster as their pennant.
The problem is that, even when we designers are behind the conception of new tendencies and art expressions, we are susceptible of getting absorbed by the market and thus end up using the same thing as the rest just because it’s the “trend”. Sadly, this happened to Lobster, reaching a point in which some designers have gone as far as calling it the new ComicSans! The issue is that, the font is so darn appealing that many of us don’t resist placing it in some part of our designs (similar to Helvetica), fortunately, we’re starting to gain conscience about this situation and things are about to change.
What started as a classy font designed for retro designs and elegant websites has now spread to corporate websites, tech blogs and applications, it seems that people believe that using Lobster is a synonym of good design. If we add the fact that people are becoming addict of the whole “vintage” thing, it was to expect that Lobster was going to be present in every hipster gig poster and retro-looking application.
What was the need of using Lobster on this poster? The rest of the design uses a SansSerif typeface and if the idea was selling cinema as an old tradition, then they’re sending a mixed message that combines a “retro” font with modern colors and fonts.
Used as a display element, Lobster provides excellent results such as in the example above. Unfortunately, many people have begun to use it as a web font, working with sizes below 16 px that totally destroy the beauty of Lobster. What pisses me the most is that now, thanks to the @font-face property and the Google Font API, the possibilities for choosing a font are enormous, so there’s no reason for sticking with Lobster.
It’s funny that we complain about people refusing to abandon Internet Explorer or those who think that Papyrus is the best choice for making a wedding invitation, while we keep using Lobster for every new freebie we make and if someone ask for a “vintage” look then voilà, Lobster is here to save the day. Before Lobster was born and even before Mr. Impallari began his career in typography design, there was a whole array of fonts that designers worked with for creating “retro” designs, so if someone says that the reason for using Lobster is because it’s the best font ever, that person is lying!.
The previous example clearly depicts an abuse of Lobster; even when the tittle looks good, there was no need to use the same font for the author’s name because as I said before, Lobster shouldn’t be shrink down to such small sizes.
This is a classic example of Lobster abuse. Many of the latest freebies featured in sites such as ThemeForest (I love many of the things you find there but not this) have been launching lots of freebies and resources with Lobster all over them, the colors and the style of the ad itself are not precisely “vintage”, yet it supposedly looks good because it was made with Lobster.
I can’t deny the fact that this “Under Construction” design looks beautiful, nevertheless, I think that Lobster was not the only way of making this lovely design.
Lobster has also taken control over blogs, here we can see a Lobster title that does not connect with the rest of the page made with SansSerif fonts, pixel perfect elements and lots of white areas.
On this case the Lobster usage is great, as it was picked for making a “retro” website along with a beautiful color palette. This is a clear example of when and how you can use Lobster, though the upper left banner and the texts behind the menu elements are quite small, making them hard to read.
Another example of Lobster abuse, there was no need to bring Lobster into this set of clean and modern design elements.
Finding “vintage” themes such as this one has become very common; hopefully this saturation of cyan-almond websites and Lobster titles with the same “Inner Shadow” effect over and over can invite people to look for something else and thereby stop this Lobster invasion!.
What was the necessity of using Lobster in this ad? This was clearly designed by someone who relies on design clichés (gradients, inner shadows, etc).
This is probably one of the best examples of Lobster use, see how the font perfectly blends with the rest of the design?
I’m not advocating for a cease of activities regarding the Lobster font, actually I’m a big fan of this beautiful typeface and I have used it in many of my designs. What I’m asking for is a little judgement before deciding whether Lobster is the best option you have, there is a big shelf filled with beautiful fonts that can help you improve your designs. I disagree with those who think of Lobster as the new ComicSans as there’s a huge bridge between the two of them. Finally, the only thing I suggest to every designer out there is: Stop ruining this lovely font before we start seeing it in every single restaurant out there!
P.S. If you thought Lobster was the only way of making something look retro, here’s an example of how you can capture the whole ‘hipster/vintage’ style without killing Lobster in the process.