What is it about Bad Design?

Bad DesignReally, what is it about bad design that draws people in. I have been thinking perhaps someone needs to tell someone that they dont have what it takes and they shouldn’t be designing. How much of design is something that is inside of you. Can anyone become a designer? Would a banker be able to design? If you put a banker into a thorough design program, would he come out as a designer? I would like to think NO! Bad Designers in online coursesI am currently taking classes online and there are some fellow students that just shouldn’t be allowed to design. I would say in most of my design courses online, if there are 15 students in the class, usually only about 3-4 can really be creative. I know everyone has to start somewhere, but I am in advanced courses and still there are individuals who cant properly mask an image or choose colors that dont clash. Perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way, perhaps we need those bad designers, so that our designs stand out that much more. Accepted by allSomething can also be said here for a college that accepts anyone. For example, my fiancee went to Syracuse University and was accepted into the Visual Communications program. The key word here is accepted, I was accepted in Westwood Online by paying the college tuition. There was no interview process, I chose Westwood because it seemed like the easiest and most convenient way for me to finish my college education. I think this is where the bad designers fall through the cracks, if they dont make it into big name schools with serious art programs or if they decide that they want to become a web designer, they will eventually end up in a community college or online college program.Bad Design as a result of Bad CritiquesAnother thought is that the reason that these designers are poorly unskilled or just plain bad is because no one has ever really told them what they think. We have weekly critiques in my classes, where we need to point out what works and what doesnt. I feel like most of these people think a critique means I should tell them “It Looks Great! I like the colors! Nice Type” and thats it. I get a lot of those, but I actually learn more when someone from a different point of view really pulls apart my piece and tell me what they really think of it. Give an honest critqueWould you think being honest online would be a bad thing? I critique people as I expect them to critique me. I give them my honest opinion, or constructive criticism. So I gave a critique to this one girl, and she took it as an attack on her. Then she brutally attacked my design and me. After our little online tiff, she stated that it would be better if we didnt speak for the rest of the semester. Imagine That! To summarize Im going to say that not everyone should be allowed to design. And if you do decide to try design, expect comments, criticism, etc. And if you can\’t handle the criticism, becuase face it – your first design will never be your final winning piece, then choose a different career path.

4 thoughts on “What is it about Bad Design?”

  1. Design, like art, to some level is subjective. I dont’ think a designer, in order to be good, needs formal training at a prestigious university. I dont’ think that a degree or even comprehensive knowledge of tools like photoshop or illustrator is what makes someone a good designer. But that being said, I certainly don’t think it could hurt either. Obviouly you need to understand some fundamentals and to know how to use your tools. I think good design comes from an instictive place and has a point of view. I also think, that like many other things in life, with enough practice, someone can become proficient at it. As designers I think we all want to believe that there is some ‘intangible’ factor that makes us special, propelling us above the sphere of mere mortals. But the truth is that most of have had to work very hard at becoming better designers. So it’s a good question and one worth exploring. I don’t think there is an easy answer. I think if it’s what you want and you are passionate about it then you shouldn’t listen to people who tell you that you don’t have any talent. VanGogh died a virtual unknown didn’t he? So what the heck do people know anyway.

  2. Kara, you make some good points that I may have overlooked. But I do think everyone is born with something, some sort of drive or passion. From a young age I believe I have always been creative, not so much the sense of a designer, but I loved gardening and I also loved music. Before I decided to go down the path of becoming a web designer, I wanted to be a landscape architect. I had a passion for plants, which I still posess. I guess I just like making things look good, it is just part of who I am.

    Yes, if you are passionate about becoming a designer, you shouldnt let people tell you that you shouldnt become a designer, but I think designers need to have a thick skin. The world around has a great effect on what we do. For example, Im a web designer and after completing a design, it goes through about 5-10 stages of critiques and re-workings. For the first re-design I performed on their site, I must have created 30-40 different design layouts. It is a serious process that shouldnt be overlooked. The point Im trying to get across is that a lot of bad design is a result of not-honest criticism. Designers that cant grow because no one has told them how they really feel, and if they have those designers havent learned from it.

  3. I agree with your perspective, Mr. OneRutter. I mean, no one told me that my magazine website looked like garbage until it was redesigned and the collective, “Oh, that’s much better!” rose from the crowd. Leaving me thinking, “Why didn’t you tell me it looked dodgy before?”


    Constructive criticism is necessary to the growth of a project and the cultivation of a talent.

  4. I think that some people are born with a genetic favor towards creativity (or even being visual). Schools often do studies on how people learn, and visual is one of the catagories.

    However, I think that people can learn.

    How many designers out there 100% original and creative, and how many of them are borrowing ideas or concepts from outside influences?

    Majority of designers to some extent are influenced by other design… we mimic and alter by nature.

    Over time I can see people adopting to this mimic and alter, and if they have the right techniques down they can easily start to design quality material.

    Those who are naturally more creative and visual will no doubt be making more cutting edge designs, and hopfully be more successful because of it… but success in this industry probably has to do more with sales than talent.

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