Two label formats are currently available, Dynamo and Tape, with five and four background colour choices respectively. The formats are in keeping with VM's design aesthetic of mimicking the appearance of Eurorack hardware modular systems. The name Dynamo is a tribute to Dymo, a brand that has become synonymous with printed plastic tape labels. True to the original, the Dynamo format supports capital letters only, and the characters look like they have been punched through plastic, a feature that makes the more complex characters, such as M, a little difficult to read. The Tape format mimics a kind of sticky paper or perhaps textile tape that can be written on and is easy to remove and therefore great for temporary labels in the hardware world. Mixed case letters are supported, though the font mimics someone's handwriting, which again is not the easiest to read. A minor inconvenience of both formats is that, in the interest of realism, a small amount of space is wasted by uneven vertical edges: sloping for Dynamo; ragged for Tape.
What scope is there for improving label clarity? I cannot think of anything that would be guaranteed to avoid being criticised for deviation from the authentic look of hardware modular systems. For example, the five Dynamo colours likely match the hardware original: there may never have been ochre or puce Dymo tape. That would not bother me, though I know that visual aesthetic is important. Leaving that issue aside then, what are some options?
- As labels are small, colour-coding can extend their meanings. So a greater choice of background colours, ideally all the colours that are available for cables, would be great. Care would need to be taken to ensure that the foreground colour of the text is not obscured by the background colour. So perhaps there could be a choice of text colours too.
- It would be great to be able choose from conventional mixed case computer fonts that have been optimised for readability.
- Formats with straight vertical label edges would minimise space usage.