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WARNING: Bad, Weird Designs Not For The Weak

Being clever and funny in an ad is an awesome accomplishment that can really draw in viewers and leave the ad memorable in their minds. Like this piece for condoms.


Condom and KY ads can be funny or at least get a chuckle out of the viewer. There are some other ones like this one for KY. I always thought this was great because it was appropriate and funny how they skirted around using sexual terminology and they put in the old dance. It is subtle (people are not groping having sex) and clever.


But when you try to be funny and make a statement and DO NOT succeed, you get bad bad bad designs. Like the following…


condom ads

How could this be a design?! I get what they are trying to say, but this just makes my skin crawl! I showed it to a couple of my friends and they freaked out. Not one person thought it clever nor funny. I think an ad like this one makes people look at it for a second and then just get away from it as soon as they can wishing they never saw it, not what you want for an advertisement for your product. What do you guys think?

Who shot the Serif?

I have noticed lately that designers are choosing a sans serif font that has perfectly round bowls with no variance between thick and thin stroke. Avenir, Century Gothic, Gill Sans, Helvetica Neue, Neuzeit S, Open Sans, Raleway, ScalaSans, and Segoe UI, are but a view in my own font collection that fit this description.

I like this style of font. I’ve used it a number of times. But I’m seeing it everywhere as the main font—the TV, store signs, newspapers are switching over, magazines, its more popular with websites. What’s happening to the serif fonts?

Serif fonts are said to be easier to read; yet newspapers and magazines are switching to sans serif. Serifs are said to be more elegant, yet we are seeing the generic unobtrusive sans serifs. Serifs are said to have style. There is no style to this type of sans serif. Even Adobe uses this style of font as their standard.

We are told to use a generic font in our design briefs so as not to give ideas to the clients before a font has actually been chosen. Why would we move to a type that is considered generic and without value?

My vote is to continue using the perfectly round and undecorative sans serif in appropriate situations, but not as the main font.


Creative Design

I came across a redesign competition held by Norway’s national police. The project involved updating the security features of their current passports. The winning design came from Neue Design Studio who executed the project flawlessly. The clean minimalist design on the cover is nothing compared to the surprise inside. Neue Design Studio decided to use three different colored covers; a red for its current passport, a a blue for diplomats, and white for immigrants. The old passport is on the left, and the new design is on the right.

Norwegian_passport                    tumblr_nf8autfdvs1qguyo7o1_1280

On the inside pages appears a day time Norwegian landscape, and when held under a UV light, it turns into a night sky with a ribbon of northern lights going across it. The UV light also reveals text and other important information that can only be seen under a UV light. I think this is creativity at its best.

3 4

Tis the Season

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the world is suddenly bombarded with a plethora of designed advertisements telling you to buy this or that product. You’ve got advertisements on TV, flyers in the mail and newspapers, and emails alerting you about the best deals at each store. In all of these advertisements, graphic design plays a really big role.

I often wonder how the holiday season would function without the presence of design and advertisement. I think it would be hard to sell anything and nobody would know what kinds of deals are out there.

Take Black Friday for example, many retailers make specific catalogs for Black Friday that are usually extremely thick booklets containing prices for all the products that will be on sale. Without these booklets and commercials on TV for products, the holiday season would not thrive.



So, this holiday season, while you’re trying to get the best deals and gifts for everyone on the list, take a minute to appreciate the design that led you to buy them.

Bullshitting: How Many Levels Deep Are You?

Since I’ve been working on the topic for my final paper, I have begun to wonder just how much Bullshit I involve in my life and work. Things that I once believed to be just and true, I find myself questioning. I feel as though I have broken through some hypothetical wall and on the other side is a higher understanding. Everywhere I look I call Bullshit; nothing seems authentic anymore, every ad, poster, brochure, I just can’t tell what’s authentic anymore.

My culturally astute reader will have caught the reference to the movie Inception, and if you caught that, you might also notice the parallels between my new “understanding” and the plot of the movie. The way things seem to be playing out in my head leads me to believe we’ve all been kidding ourselves so much in resent years that we have lost sight of true value. Is it time we take a step back and reevaluate the basic elements and principles of design?

Maybe we don’t. Life is not very enjoyable when you take pleasure in nothing, and believe in even less. While it maybe annoying to sit in critique and listen to someone spout nonsense about how their infograph has tapped into the underlying problems of the human conscious, or some other bullshit, it is still very important to impart meaning on to which that has none. I believe your life does not inherently start out with meaning; you must give it meaning yourself. The same can be said for design. The color red might not be inherently “angry,” but angry red is a whole lot more interesting than wavelengths of light connecting with our eyes.

edible shoes


A pair of Loubutin shoes? Yes please! Oh wait – I can’t wear those. In fact, nobody can – they’re edible!


These shoes are the creation of self-proclaimed “cake artist” Handi Mulyana of Handi’s Cakes in Australia. He got his start at the tender age of 10 in his family’s cake shop, and has been making cakes for over 20 years now. According to his website he personally designs, sculpts, and decorates his cakes.


Porsche created by Handi's Cakes

Porsche Carrera 911





I really like this Porsche too. I have no idea how he gets the detail he does. Obviously, Mulyana is very talented; I think he is truly an artist. It seems to me it would be a shame to take a knife to this. I certainly would not want to be the person to cut the first piece!


Mulyana does traditional work too, like this wedding cake. If I just saw a picture of the one of the flowers I don’t think I would realize that it wasn’t real.

If you want to see more of his work, check out his Instagram or go to his website.

So what do you think of Handi Mulyana’s cakes? Do you think he deserves

wedding cake by Handi Mulyana

Wedding Cake


Detail of Cake

the “cake artist” title?

Gag Worthy

Conceptual art is all about the process and the concept, how it is made and the steps it takes to get there. The final piece isn’t as important. DESIGN IS NOT CONECPTUAL ART. All that really matters in an ad or packaging or a website is the final product. Take the ad below for an example.


The concept behind this ad is pretty clear. Bad breath, from let’s say fish, linger and then you need these breath mints that will cure your fish breath. Pretty easy. Could have created a pretty good ad out of this. Did they? No.

I thought it may have just been me who didn’t like this, so I showed it to about 6 people. Their reactions? Like me, their gag reflexes started up. What could have been a cool ad turned into an ad where the person looks as if they are gagging up a fish kind of like how in Harry Potter Ron gags up slimy slugs. No good. Now and for the rest of time I will relate the sensation of gagging to these mints.

It is all About The Package

I judge things by the way the look. I know it is harsh but GET OVER IT. In fact a lot of people do.

Humans are attracted to well attractive items that hit a connection with us. When I am at a store looking for let’s say soap, I automatically am turned off by ugly, congested packaging. I go for the pretty simple design. But I could be getting a bad deal here. The ugly package soap could be wonderful and have great side affects like weight loss (just an example), but I wouldn’t know because the off putting design would make me pass over it.

I think a lot of the time, designers sometimes forget about the packaging and honestly that is what sells a product. But the product above is just an awesome way to get people excited about buying a company’s product. This one in particular is so funny and I know if I had this bag I would probably save it for future use.


So if you are ever asked to design a package, really take the time to think about it.

E.T. Phone Home

I feel that sometimes design goes unnoticed. This is either because it may be a good design but it isn’t a great one or that it is simply not in the right place.

A lot of designers fail to utilize the space their work will be in. Either it is placed in a point of slow traffic or it just blends in too much with the space. Not this piece below. I am not sure what it is about, but whatever it’s for, this designer knew what they were doing.


This piece is forcibly interactive. If you are taking the elevator and you hit the button, you automatically have to connect with this ad, and I mean connect. The designer makes your finger touch with that of God’s pulling your eye to the rest of the ad.

Utilizing the space like this makes advertisements stand out to people and if they are as good as this one, they remember it.

The What’s Underneath Project

I recently stumbled upon one of the YouTube videos that are a part of the What’s Underneath Project. Never having heard of it before, the first one I watched was quite interesting. It’s basically a collection of videos which feature a selected group of individuals who will remove their pieces of clothing while talking about themselves.

It’s actually done really beautifully, in my opinion. The way there is just a bare brick wall behind the people as they sit and chat to the video. It’s all so natural and very, very raw. I saw Myla Dalbesio’s video first. She is a “plus-size” model who got hired by Calvin Klein to do a photoshoot and got the whole media talking about it. In her video, she opens up about some very personal issues in her life. She also discusses how hard it can be to find modeling opportunities due to being a size 10. In the world of modeling, she doesn’t fall into the category of being thin but she isn’t considered big enough for the other end- she falls right in the middle.

Throughout the interview, she takes off her clothing little by little. I feel like it’s so beautiful because she does it so, so naturally and it brings out the more raw side of us as humans.

Definitely check it out! I’ll post the Myla Dalbesio video– feel free to explore other videos of the project as well!