Sometimes, something is so poorly designed, I just have to write about it

If you peruse our website – and especially our blog – you will see how passionate we are about good design. Of course, we understand that the concept of “good design” is subjective, just like any art form. But some things are just universally seen as good... just as some things can be universally described as bad.

Good design inspires: bad design assaults

I typed this subhead somewhat in jest, but only somewhat. What I experienced when I got my business mail this morning can only be described as an assault on the senses.

We received a mailing today that we had never before received and, quite frankly, it was not particularly suited to what we do. Nonetheless, it certainly caught my attention. Because I’m not a cruel person, I will abstain from naming said publication, but I will tell you that it is described as a “listing publication.” Essentially, it is a catalog of ads for vendors relating to a specific industry.

Of course, when I received it, I wasn’t even able to discern what it was. So I visited the website. I’m sorry to say the website was bad too.

Good design is worth the cost

As I said, the mailing piece is simply a listing source for vendors – a catalog of ads. Not only was the cover of the catalog one of the most unattractive covers I’ve ever seen, but the ads inside were almost all equally offensive. And this is a publication loosely related to the graphics industry.

Sometimes bad design happens because someone fancies themselves a graphic designer when they’re not. Sometimes, decision makers lack the eye for aesthetics. And sometimes, it’s a result of businesses being unwilling to spend money on design - considering it unimportant.

The problem with the attitude that design is unimportant is laid bare with the piece I’ve described in this post. This piece was unattractive and did not communicate what it was, who it was trying to reach, or what it was trying to do.

Hiring an experienced designer with experience in marketing could have solved all of the problems this publication is suffering. If budget was the issue, perhaps the publisher could have hired someone to design just the cover. At least then the recipients would have been able to discern what they were receiving.

The bottom line is that bad design is costly; often more costly than hiring someone to do it right the first time.

Sep 18, 2013
By: Elaine Levins


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