2009-09-02

Design I like: Ottawa recycling collection calendar

No complaining today - I'm so happy when I stumble across an element of visual design that's so well done I can't help but stop, smile, and consciously notice how pleasant it is. I'm doubly surprised and delighted if it's from the government, because, you know, bureaucratic design-by-committee isn't exactly renowned for its tasteful results.

Good Design: September Recycling Calendar
  • I love how the grid itself doesn't contain a single written word.
  • I enjoy the simplicity of the blue/black lines indicating which type of recyclable materials are being collected this week. (Although this requires explanation if you're not from Ottawa - blue boxes are used for glass & plastic, black boxes for paper and cardboard.) I applaud the designer for targeting his work to his audience (Ottawa residents), for whom the blue/black bars are self-evident.
  • I have a soft spot for the cute leaf icon (indicating pickup of garden clippings, again, obvious if you live in Ottawa, so it's the know-your-audience principle again).
  • But most of all, the stroke of genius is the arrows indicating that the statutory holiday on September 7th offsets regular pickup dates by 24 hours. An incompetent designer would've required a paragraph of text to explain that. This author does it with a big orange X and five arrows. (Note how the arrows and the X are painted in the same orange to tie them together, and that orange isn't used anywhere else in the grid.)
I find this calendar extremely inspiring. Hat tip to you, anonymous designer. I've had Edward Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information on my Amazon wishlist for a while, but I think noticing this tonight is the push I needed to finally go ahead and order.