Condemnation from world leaders has been swift and decisive following a kerning mistake made in an organisational brochure by trainee London graphic designer Sarah Messina.
On learning of the spacing error, which occurred on page 12, line 14 – 15 of a proof-stage draft of the Department of Health’s ‘Guide to Seasonal Illness’, religions united and enemies put aside their differences in an expression of disgust, fury and outrage.
US President Barack Obama broke away from a summit on healthcare reform to speak out against the mistake. “This is a time for the global community to look on what humanity can prove itself to be, and look away in shame. It saddens me that at this time, when our own country is striving to improve the treatment meted out to our sick and our needy, that an atrocity such as this, which almost ruined one page of an educational brochure, can be committed.”
The Islamic world joined the west in expressing outrage. Said Ayatollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of Iran: “Every day we look to observe our duty to God in our words and deeds. The strict and holy laws of design are not the least of these and are inviolate. This error betrays a corruption that, if not extinguished, will spread the world over bringing a disease of the soul.”
The Department of Health itself moved quickly today to allay panic among employees, assuring them that the kerning mistake would be rectified in the fifth draft of its brochure. However, the Public Commercial Services Union, which represents the majority of civil servants, said that it would advise its members to leave work immediately fearing a total breakdown in the structure of government.
Patches of civil disorder were appearing on the streets of London early Wednesday, as members of the public tried to locate Messina and her design agency Blue Koala Design in Hammersmith, West London. Crowds massed on the roads of Hammersmith carrying bricks and bottles were contained by riot police and reports have come in of other graphic design agencies being targeted.
However, the government has issued a statement saying that Messina was already in police custody, and could expect “to suffer the full wrath of the law.”