Opinions needed on "dog"


New Member

I am conducting some research for a project and wanted the opinions of designers across disciplines to see the varying views on the below quote by the designer Massimo Vignelli.

“I don’t believe that when you write the word dog the type should bark!”

It would be interesting to know if this opinion rings true, and that using elaborative and decorative typefaces is never needed. That design can be informative and timeless using 6 (if not less) typefaces throughout a design career.

I would be grateful for anyone's opinion and input about typefaces, language or general graphic design.


Amy (MA student studying Graphic Design)
This is an interesting topic. This is both true and false depending on the context of the design in question. Design is such a board subject that this quote can be true in some context but false in others. For example, in branding if the name of the brand was 'Dog', it would only make sense to have the type evoke some form of 'dog like' element and make it 'bark' so to speak. If a standard plain typeface was used for the brand without good reason, or even worst a typeface that was completely irrelevant to the brand itself, that would be considered poor design. On the other hand, in another design context like a mobile UI, if the word 'dog' was the title/headline, in a fairly basic, clean and easy to read font, that would be perfectly understandable and reasonable. I probably could of thought of a better example, but I think you'll get where i'm coming from. Basically it depends why the word 'dog' is there, what is it's use, in what context and what feeling/reaction/behaviour it wants to have on it's viewer. (But obviously this is just all my opinion).
Thank you for your input and taking the time to reply.

It does very much depend on the situation and elements the design brief need. I am at a stage looking at whether a designer can take the approach of being a "generalist" rather than focus all their attention on specialising. It seems with such variety that goes under the umbrella of "graphic design", the teachings of people like Vignelli may need be relevant for todays design world. Which then throws up questions, what should be the taught principles of design? What is the future for design and how education can help mould and influence?

Thank you once again