How NOT to design

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How NOT to design

Post by .alson on Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:05 am

I just donít get how people with fancy bachelor degrees and/or are employed at design firms are so terrible at design 1. Itís not hard to see something and know itís pretty ugly. As blunt as it is, design has to be superficially constructed.

None of the metaphorical artsy B.S. ever helps it. Iím not even really much of a designer (Iím an animator and Illustrator). I know I do things that are not the most fantastic looking things, even with my own design. I certainly do not have any sort of fancy piece of paper (they call them degrees) that gives me the right to tell everyone what I think, but seriously; if I could teach myself enough to make it into galleries, itís no excuse for people who do have the qualifications. Iím sorry if I come across jaded, but it needs to be said.

But enough jabber; letís go through some commonly reoccurring design mishaps that should induce a small amount of vomit in your mouth (donít forget to swallow).
1. Opinions expressed are obviously subjective to my taste, but if you disagree with this you are obviously pretty bad.

Bevel and emboss




ďOh wow, I bet if I just made it 3d-looking and then dropped it in, it would look a million times better than withoutĒ
Pretty much the calling card of every Photoshop first-time user. The cause? The lack of attention to detail, and ignorance of settings. Iíll say this once as a pretty general rule: NEVER USE THE DEFAULT SETTINGS FOR ANY FILTER. I guess if it flukishly was set to what you require itís ok, but never slap something on without controlling it, unless you want a kick in the throat. There really isnít anything wrong with using the filters at all, but always make sure to adjust and detail before applying.
Splash pages





ďA sweet introduction to the site would be so nice!Ē
Please donít ever use these. It means a whole click and wait for the next page to load. Itís perfectly ok if itís a holding page, but when itís an enter page to a site - with no other option but ďEnter this fantastic site because I made a button to let you do itĒ, you wonder why they even want you to go to their site in the first place. Splash pages are a redundant buffer. Who needs a site introduction really? If you have to introduce your site with dumb animation, or a giant button to tell people to enter it, then you are kidding yourself. Content first. Let a user see what they need to see coming to a site. Donít give them some interactive experience bull crap, unless it will blow their mind.

Metal interfaces




ďMetal is so clean and shiny, so letís use so much of it!Ē
Scratched metal, metallic interfaces, robotics, industrial. Ugh. Over-done and in most cases, terribly executed. Most of the time, it doesnít even look like metal. Itís not techie and it doesnít look modern. Trying to add the futuristic computer element to something you view on a computer? Thatís about as lame as taking a holiday in your own backyard (if you have a fantastic backyard, just use mine instead).
Grunge




ďOh this is too clean, so letís beat it up and make it look rusty and hot!Ē

Grunge is like 1985 movie poster residue. A site that looks like the inside of a badly abused toilet is definitely one that wonít make your visitors want to stay and love. It can be done well, but donít beat things up because of lacking ideas for a clean solution. If you do grunge, donít do it just because itís a quick way out.
Glow effects




ďGlows look so slick and futuristicĒ
STOP putting these on everything. Adding glows to things to make them stand out look corny. If this is the only style treatment you are aware of, you better enroll in a design life course. Like everything else, it can be used well in moderation, and in the right place; but donít pull one out of your poop trap because your fingers are itchy. Get creative already.

No whitepace




ďLetís conserve as much room as humanly possibleĒ
Even my high school English teacher is guilty of this. Cramming content together to save space, just makes things much to dense to take in. Readability of type and general form is essential. Breaking up elements with whitespace defines digestible chunks of information, and establishes a visual hierarchy. Donít go butting things right up to other elements so they kiss. It looks horrible and itís impossible to read. Balance is the key.
Boxes




ďBoxes are neat, so letís only use them to wrap around everything!Ē

We really should be trying to push away from the mechanics of markup and instead hiding those clunky divs. Tight boxes stacked un-lovingly is stiff and dry. We live in a visual age, so get out those organic curves and open space and work the composition. Being restricted to boxes is so Internet Explorer 95.
Minimalism as an excuse




ďIf Apple can do it, so can I!Ē
Minimalism needs to be damn good to work. Too many people use it as an excuse for lack of creativity. 3 pieces of text and an image is boring. Itís definitely clean, but if the details are not beautiful, itís about as great as eating flavourless porridge.
Crappy colour




ďThese colours are playful and funĒ

Thereís really no excuse for horrible colour. If it looks right, itís going to be right. If the colours look like an acid trip, donít use them. Learn some colour theory
Debris




ďLook, look, look. All my unimportant flickr, twitter,last.fm,facebookÖetc profilesĒ
Tacking on every single profile link is going to make people want to leave your site, giving traffic to the others. Read this.
Gloss





ďSO WEB 2.0!!!Ē
Why do people still do this? Following every trend from any piece of web 2.0 design is sloppy. Gloss was never cool.
Gradient abuse




ďHmm, looks crap. Letís add gradients!Ē
If you think you are going to make a horrible colour better and have more depth by giving it a gradient, think again. Donít use gradients that change from one colour to a completely different colour (like white to black, or red to green). Make them subtle and smooth.
Oh, I know. Iím whining, but the internet is full of such terrible (yet recent) design. Thereís so much more that I could list, but these are the ones that I see far too often.



Iím not saying to never use these stylistic treatments (as people who glance over and jump the gun are complaining about), Iím saying that if you are going to use a treatment in this medium, give it some T.L.C.


Got any bad design bones to pick? Yell them angrily.

via DarkMotion
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Re: How NOT to design

Post by 1ruleyou on Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:03 am

Sweet thanks for the NOT TOOS Very Happy

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Re: How NOT to design

Post by Katool on Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:22 pm

GLOSS seem to be a good article to read for a tut.
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Re: How NOT to design

Post by 1ruleyou on Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:08 am

yes

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Re: How NOT to design

Post by .alson on Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:59 pm

But seriously, don't just "gloss" everything you see. Think, does it really look like being glossy? no.
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Re: How NOT to design

Post by 1ruleyou on Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:13 pm

Or does it really NEED to be glossy!

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Re: How NOT to design

Post by :KrAzY on Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:22 pm

Insactly, plain is the simplest Answer

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Re: How NOT to design

Post by Havok on Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:03 pm

Haha, Ya

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Re: How NOT to design

Post by .alson on Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:51 am

simplicity is not the answer to everything though, in sig design, complicated is good, simplicity in sig design is lazy
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Re: How NOT to design

Post by 1ruleyou on Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:08 pm

Right. But sometimes too complicated confuseses people.

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