Bad design is an inevitability, and and in one way designers should be thankful for it: for good design to be recognised as such, we need bad design.
But, for those of us who believe well-designed things make the world a slightly better place, encountering bad design can be painful.
What’s worse is when bad designs come back to haunt us. For example: weren’t NHS spectacles bad enough the first time?
This was the topic of an event on Wednesday night at Milliken, as part of Clerkenwell Design Week. We trailed along to watch Emma Booty, Creative Director of Conran Studio, condemn show of the worst crimes of design revival, along with a panel including Simon Gill from LBi and Steve Price from Plan B.
There were some obvious candidates – the Jubilee flag fetish, for example, and the modern Olympics in general (a sporting event designed almost entirely for corporate interest, and hardly at all for sports fans). The panel agreed lava lamps should stay in the Seventies, and hoped that wider adoption of LEDs may sound their death knell.
Emma chose the twee, selfish, saccharine but undeniably-fashionable cupcake (“Isn’t cake about sharing?”), and the return of prudishness to our beaches. It was noted sourly that we can blame America for both of these.
She also chose the eventual winner of the lighthearted competition: the hassle, the expense, the dizzying motion sickness of the 3D film.
You can read more about the event here.
So, what are your worst design crimes and design revivals?
EDIT: You can now see all of the panel’s choices over at the Design Crimes website.