In a piece about the future of punctuation, Henry Hitchings mentions the unmentionable: that graphic designers might be at least partly responsible for our downward spiral.
I think he may be on to something. The graphic designers I’ve known don’t much care for hyphens, dashes, and semicolons—even apostrophes—all of which are employed by writers for clarity. You see, those ugly little symbols tend to muck up an otherwise pretty headline or logo.
When the designers win, the rest of us lose, as evidenced by the inability of most American adults to know how and when to use an apostrophe. Just think of all the possessive business names that lack one: Walgreens, Albertsons, Starbucks…the list goes on.
But then, without graphic design, nobody would read anything anyway. So I guess we’re going to just have to learn how to get along.