WHAT IS BAD DESIGN?

If I were asked this question a year back, my answer wouldn’t be different from what the ordinary man on the street would give. Now that I know better, I feel more than pleased to talk about this topic. This is not the first piece about the topic and wouldn’t be the last. As a Design agency that is committed to helping SMEs grow to Bigger Brands, we see it as a sense of duty to address this question. This conversation is meant to quench misconceptions about design. It is also an eye opener to most business owners and intending or developing designers alike.

   Like the ordinary man, I am not privy to the rudiments of design but still feel I can detect a Bad design with my Eyes. Thus a Design is adjudged Good or Bad based on what my Eyes and Mind tells me. I believe this is the same with other people. No man is a dunce and everyone can easily spot a good design when we see one. If a Design looks appealing to us, we wouldn’t hesitate to say so.’This design fine wella’. I had often confessed in pidgin whenever I come across a Design that catches my fancy. But I have since come to recognise and learn that Design is an Art, and like every art, it has principles, techniques that ought to be followed in order to produce a Good Work.

‘Can’t you add more colours? Or Can’t you make this one bigger?’ are phrases that would ring a Bell in a Designer ears. Some customers feel Design is all about using  the right and beautiful colours and we would have a good piece of design. They are not entirely wrong but every good designer will agree that there is more to design than colours. So, what then is a bad piece of design?

Poor Typography – If what is written on the design is not legible enough, then the designer has failed in his or her duty. Every designer would agree that typography is a key element of design, so its necessary that the designer makes the right choice in Fonts. Yes. Fonts. Using too many fonts is a sign of naivety about how a good design should look like. Also complicated fonts should be avoided and fonts should be in line with the Contents of the Design.

Underline –  ‘why shouldn’t I underline’, you would ask. ‘why should you’, is the answer to your question. For the records, It is a rule not to underline feature in design. Please, let hyperlinks have the sole rights to use it.

Kern – forgetting to Kern is a mistake every good designer avoids. Kerns involves adjusting the spaces between characters. Not paying attention to this detail, will make your work look like the product of an amateur designer.

Proofreading -Inadvertently, every good designer must imbibe the ability of proof reading each design work before a copy is sent to the Client. Proofreading has proven to be a good way to avoid embarrasment and loss of credibility in the sight of clients. So, Mr or Ms. Designer, endeavour to check for errors in your work.

Hyphens as bullets – the use of hyphens as bullets makes your work look like a non Pro. Try to be more professional by using dots or other modern day techniques. It’s all for the benefit of the Design.

Too much colours – this is a mistake that most amateur designers and naive business owners make. Like they say ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’, so also is it in Design. The use of too many colours gives your work a bizarre look in the sight of any that truly understands Design. One or two colours is enough and you are good to go.

Embossing – like too much colours, too much embossing makes your work messy. Take my word for it. Embossing is good so far it is used right.

  Lest I forget, another thing that makes a design bad is when It doesn’t reflect what the client wants. Following the principles of Design would be a waste of time if you can’t create a similar picture of what the Client has in mind. In a closing note, the path of a designer is filled with ups and downs that exist to make the journey interesting and memorable.  It is worthy to note that every  good designer attained the rank ‘Good’ due to paying attention to details and defending the principles of design in the face of any client.

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