Designers should tell half the story with sensation alone—so don't get caught up in the actual words.
Text should be numero uno when it comes to design. Now forget that. Let’s put our thing down, flip it and reverse it. [thank you Missy.] The narrative should be the first thing you think about when design something. Legibility is important for some audiences but not all. If you think of designers as storytellers as I do, then what we produce is so much more than what you can make on an Adobe Software program. The feeling of a project can give purpose to the design when it is called for.
For about 97% of design, the actual copy should be what you think about. When a graphic designer gets the text for a project—that they are looking so forward too not getting paid for, because the project is from their cousin's friend—there will be occasions where the copy is not what should be put in the vanguard. There will be some instances where the mood that is being conveyed in the subject is the subject. Buckled up safely in the backseat is the nuances, such as the actual plain words. The lesson is, class, sometimes it’s ok that it’s not upfront and legible.
Readability, however, is the gold star you want to achieve. Readability in design should be the measurable scale of how a project is set up as it pertains to conveying a message. The top tier designs are decipherable. They make sense to the audience it is meant for.Examples? Examples. When you toss shapes and colors on a page last-minute for the sake of having something, anything, to hand in for your semester project than you won’t get anywhere. When you do the same thing to make a statement on the lack of attention your lethargic derelict of a teacher gives to your class, then ya, +A.
Legibility is a great aspect of design that you should keep in your purse for the next time you need it most. Readability is something you should keep even closer. You will need them both until humanity has moved beyond the use of conversing with each other [approx. 3017.] As long as you think of design as half of the story, legibility can just stay safely tucked away in that awesome clutch of yours for touch-ups. Be a designer who tells a story. If that is what you strive for then you can make a 200kb Word .doc feel like the weight of so much more.
The best example of letting readability outshine legibility is this poster and branding design by The Royal Studio. The Portuguese design group created this work for the Mucho Flow, a festival about the state of arts and music.