Acronyms are elitist – simplicity is key to communication

A few months ago I decided to launch the Campaign for the Reduction of Acronym Proliferation. Realising what I had done, I vowed instead to use plain English for all my presentations and proposals.

Let’s face it, everybody does it. The use of acronyms is a way of determining who is in the club and who isn’t. This is most apparent in the public sector. If you want proof, just log on to any Government website. But we, the design community, are just as guilty. As a communication design professional, I believe that design should be inclusive. Good design aids the communication process.

Pictograms, as suggested by Lynda Relph-Knight, are not necessarily the answer – too many people find them difficult to decipher. When Granada introduced icons as wayfinding at one of its sites, accidents increased dramatically because drivers didn’t understand them.

So what can be done? Perhaps the answer lies within that familiar acronym, ‘Keep it Simple, S_ _ _ _ _’.
Kelly Robbins, Independent communications design consultant, by e-mail

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