Apple Shopping Spree flyer

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 14th, 2003 • 1:31 am

Today I got a flyer in the mail from Apple Canada offering me a chance to win a $2,000 shopping spree at the Apple Store, Canada web site. Hey, why not? I wouldn’t mind an nice 30GB iPod

The trouble is that the flyer came with a unique “PIN” number printed in a reserved location. And the font for the PIN number is a sans-serif font. And the PIN number, which consists of letters (both lowercase and uppercase) and digits, includes a letter that simply consists of a vertical bar.

When I first entered my PIN number on the appropriate page, it was rejected. That’s when I realized that the letter in question could be either an uppercase “I” or a lowercase “L”. Since it came after a sequence of two uppercase characters, I thought it was a capital “I”. It wasn’t.

It turns out it was a lowercase “L”.

Of course, there is absolutely no way to distinguish between the two in a sans-serif font such as the one used for the PIN number in this flyer design (which looks like Helvetica to me).

It’s a good thing I know a little about fonts and am aware of this potential problem. I am not sure everyone does. Obviously Apple Canada’s designers don’t. Shame on them.

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