Boarding Pass (Typography)

Published September 27, 2017

For this week’s visual language assignment, we’re attempting to take a notably poor example of typographic design – an airline ticket – and redesign it with clarity in mind. This required an approach which understands and respects a hierarchy of information importance, especially as it can be manifest with typographic tools: varying font weights and grouping like things together.

We began with the following:

My first step was to suss out which information was most important to the passenger, and which to an airline representative or TSA agent.  Among the former was: flight number, date, boarding and departure time, gate, origin and destination.  Among the latter was the TSA Pre-check status and information about the plane.  Some information – such as the number of bags, and the airline applied in equal measure to both parties.  So, with this division in mind, I began to place the text on the ticket.  What I soon realized is that the poor legibility of the original ticket was at least somewhat due to the fact that unrelated pieces of text (flight number, date, class, origin, and departure time in the first line) were often on the same horizontal line with no division between them.  So, I decided to split the ticket once vertically and once horizontally, creating three separate sections.  All of the information most important to the passenger could then be laid out in a legible, left-to-right fashion in the left section.  On the right could go the origin and destination (information likely less important to a passenger who knew where they were going) as well as the information important to an airline representative or TSA agent.

Within the left-side, I decided not to make any hierarchy of information because all of the information is vital to a passenger, and any attempt to prioritize flight number over gate or departure time would result in an equally confusion final product.