The Most 90's Book I've Ever Seen


Golf FORE!! Beginners: The FUNdamentals (1992) by Stephen J. Ruthenberg

Ready for your eyes to bleed? Take a gander at this crime against the sighted world.

When I found this tome proudly displayed in the sports section of a university library, it became clear to me that the library spirits--ghosts of my fallen bookworm brethren who had perished among the stacks--were smiling upon me with a gift from my native decade, reminding me of the deep morass that book covers had spent the last couple decades crawling out of.

I've taken exactly three golf lessons in my life, and that was at the tender age of ten, so I don't consider myself worthy to speak to the validity of the golf tips contained within this book. Instead, I'll just take a second to appreciate the cover art.

Pointing out the obvious, this book stumbles out the starting gate with the title, cramming two puns and a double exclamation point into its name. Next, we observe the color scheme. Our eyes are jarred from their sockets as we see the bland off-white background thrown into the sharpest of contrast with glaring green and red lettering. There is no subtlety in which greens and which reds were used. They don't seem coordinated with other colors in the cover image, like the green of the grass, or the red of golf instructor's shirt. The color selections in the typography look so basic, in fact, that it's almost like the default red and green hues that a budding Microsoft Word user would have to choose from while messing around with the program for the first time and realizing with bewilderment that the letters can be colors other than black.

But I know what you really want me to talk about: the fantastic poses of our cover models. I know that what we're seeing here is completely innocent and that I may be part of the problem, but in the design world, you need to think of every possible interpretation the public could take from your work. I won't belabor the point too strongly, but I really think the designer could have decided on a more dynamic and less...awkward photo for the cover. Perhaps a photo where the beginner golfer and the instructor aren't posed so strangely, something that isn't helped by the creepy forced smiles of the onlooking family in the background.

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