The fellas over at smashLAB’s ideasonideas had been away for a bit, but have made their triumphant return with a bang in their latest post, “The Culpable Designer.” It’s all about the idea of “bad” as in “bad design,” “bad clients,” and so on, and how there are levels of bad and good, how much of each something is, and that sometimes you need to sit back and put all that into perspective. Here’s some:
If we accept that our general barometer for “bad” is primarily superficial and personal in nature — as it is in the above examples — it leads us to consider that which truly is bad. I ask whether we should redefine bad design as: work that causes harm or helps support the efforts of clients who do damaging things.
The examples of truly damaging design are plentiful; however, to skim the surface, we could reference messages that serve to further the stereotyping of a population, are hateful or sexist, or those which are intended to confuse or misinform the audience. There are propagandist messages which often fuel hatred and result in loss of life. There is messaging that sanitizes the work of companies who butcher the landscape. Without any doubt, you could add many more examples to this list.