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Positive Fantasy Syndrome

Written by on May 7, 2004

Positive Fantasy Syndrome (or P-FANSY) is an illness, in fact a virus, which is spreading among web designers with rapid speed. It is highly contagious and sometimes fatal. P-FANSY is characterized by making web-designers believe that if they make the site hard enough to see, their readers would think it actually looks good.

The Positive Fantasy Syndrome has been around for many years and many prominent web-designers are already infected. The most interesting thing about P-FANSY is that it only hits web-design skills. For designers who do both web and print, they print design skill is hardly ever affected.

How to determine an infection?

To determine if a web-designer is infected by P-FANSY you need to look after two things.

  1. Low contrast - tone-in-tone design
  2. Tiny fonts, buttons and graphics

Example of infection

A web-designer who use any of these has a mild infection but might not need immediate attention. Often a P-FANSY infection cures itself after a period of time. However, if the web-designer does not show signs of improvement after 3-4 months you need to take action.

When web-designers does both things we are looking at a severe infection and immediate action is necessary.

Note: In some case, it is not actually the web-designer that is infected but the client who pretends to be a web-designer. Client-web-designer infections are often much more dangerous than regular web-designer infections.

How to cure?

The best way to cure a web-designer from P-FANSY is to show the person non-infected examples of great web-design. If you can show examples from prominent web-designers you can expect almost immediate restoration of the person's health.

Example of a non-infected site
- Bang OlufsenThere are, however, a few lasting effects that are almost impossible to cure. One is that a cured web-designer often gets bored; another is that he is very acceptable to other web-design disease.

Note: Previous attempts to cure P-FANSY by putting infected web-designers together - inspired by Anonymous Alcoholics - has proven to be fatal. It would seem that the virus' rate of growth is accelerated when their mass increases.

What happens if it is not cured?

If P-FANSY is left alone the illness can be fatal. One way is that the web-designer gets fired or loose important opportunities, which often to leads to job at 7-Eleven (usually the night shifts).

In more dangerous cases the web-designer works for years, and one day happens to get out into the real world; the shock may lead to hospitalization at a mental institution for grumpy old men.

Positive Fantasy Syndrome is a very dangerous disease. If you know someone has it, you need to help them now!

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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