Bad Design

Recently, I posted a blog about a building structure that acted as a death ray, due to its form and poorly thought-out consequences. The following lists few other products in the world that can be designed better for consumers. Product design is hard work. Not only does one’s product need to function as advertised, it also has to be safe to use and practical. Planning and testing are essential.

  • This Pedestrian Crossing Button from Alexandria, VA.

Many people think that this contraption is telling them to push the metal disk in order to walk across the road; however, the metal disk actually does not serve any purpose. This product could have been more effective if the instructions were not placed in an inconvenient spot. The hand pointing to a button is easily interpreted for people to push the metal disks that sits right on top.

  • Clamshell Packaging

Clamshell packaging has been used widely by manufacturers since its very effective in terms of security(theft prevention) and it keeps products in good condition; however thousands of people get injured per year since due to the difficulty, inability, and frustration to open hard-to-open packaging.There are alternatives for this type of packaging, such as the MWV Netralock, which is very secure and has a lower impact on the environment.

  • The Reliant Robin

Created in the 1970’s, the Reliant Motor Company designed an automobile that revolutionized our way of driving, by removing a front wheel. This design was not successful because of its safety hazards. The car has been reported to flip whenever a turn is made. This design would have been more effective if it was tested thoroughly before manufacturing it for the consumers.

  • The Everyday Sink Faucet

Common faucets have little room between the basin and the faucet spout. This poor but common design causes water to splash everywhere. The extension of a faucet would be better designed for easier maneuvering when washing one’s hands.

  • J.C. Penney Teapot and its billboard

Complaints were brought upon the retailer after observers perceived the teapot billboard ad as looking like Adolf Hitler. Michael Graves, an architect and the designer of the product, had no intentions in promoting the dictator, only the product. The advertising and/or design may have been more successful if the product were to be shown in other views. It could also have been effective to show the advertisement to a lesser number of people.

What we, learning designers, can learn from these mistakes:

  • Test the products in real-life situations before taking it to production.
  • Have as much criticism as possible to avoid fewer mishaps.
  • A product can perform well, but if advertised poorly, it won’t be successful.


Interested more about bad design? Click the sites below:


Photo sources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *