Thursday, April 21, 2005

What Happens When Good Desktop Publishing Software Goes Bad? Only The Sarah Teather Knows

We got our campaign leaflet today from Sarah Teather, our local (Brent) Lib Dem MP. Words truly cannot do justice to its crapness, which easily outstrips that of your average 3rd-grade classroom newsletter. Had I a scanner I would share; as it is you'll have to settle for my description.

The header, which reads in rather Yodaic fashion 'On Kilburn FOCUS', is adorned with the motto '"Here to help you all year round" Sarah Teather', reproduced in La Teather's pudgy girlish script. The headline 'Sarah Teather fights for Kilburn' is enlivened by the addition of clip art depicting the word 'ACTION' in a wobbly black cloud with dust puffs shooting out, apparently representing some kind of scuffle. This is supported by a large photograph, captioned 'Sarah Teather has welcomed more police for Kilburn', featuring ST in what looks like a little red riding hood, goggling in slack-jawed profile as Charles Kennedy has a truculent-looking word with a bobby.

Badly proofread and even worse laid out, the leaflet features no less than six photos of La Teath, including another on the back from the same Charlie 'n' Bobby shoot, this time with an overexposed Kennedy looking alarmed to find his head is dissolving into air.

Many snippets of information are enclosed in little graphic boxes, some of which are cunningly designed with jagged edges and drop-shadows, as if they were torn scraps of paper.

My favorite feature of the whole screaming fiasco, however, is the bar graph that shows 2003 by-election results above the beguilingly messianic caption 'Only the Sarah Teather can beat Labour here.' On the verso, where they've inexplicably reproduced the same graph, as well as here, they've sanitized the caption to read 'Only the Lib Dems...' I like it so much better the other way.

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