There’s No Such Thing as ‘Bad Design’. Here’s Why

Good and bad design

Designing is for creative minds. Some projects take days to be brought to fruition, while others take hours – it’s something you put all your might in. At the end comes the most dreadful part – the verdict of the client. And it turns out that they think your design is a ‘bad design’.

Yeah, that’s pretty rough.

Before you get disheartened at the grim prospect, know that it isn’t the end of the world. It isn’t even that bad. Because there is no such thing as a ‘bad design’. It’s only ‘design in a wrong context’ and a client being vaguer than should be allowed.

What Exactly Does a Client Mean When They Label Something ABad Design’?

Projects are a collaborative effort of multiple people with different point of views. What seems right to one may not to the other. But what is appropriate for the project holds more value than any individual point of view. So, in that light, a bad design is simply one that doesn’t go well with the vision of that particular project; not a design that is worthless or impractical.

For instance, a disco song is not a right fit for a funeral, and a birthday party does not require somber decoration. A disco song is great in and of itself and will certainly add glitz to a party dancefloor – but it just isn’t meant for a funeral. The same goes for the somber theme adding value to a funeral when it will be a disgrace to party celebrations.

The point is – any project you work on, while open to your imagination, would have certain limitations of its own. Some things just won’t work for it. Designing accordingly is important.

How Can You Avoid the Disheartening Verdict?

To avoid such a situation after you’ve spent your time and energy on a project, ask your client in advance. Question them until all your doubts are clear. More specifically, ask them what is off limits for a project so you don’t wander in that territory in the first place. While working on the project itself, if you feel like you may be treading into doubtful waters, ping up the client and clarify again. They would surely appreciate your effort.

What Can You Do If You Already Have a ‘Bad Design’ at Hand?

First of all, don’t panic. Your hard work isn’t wasted. A particular design may not have worked out for a project, but it can for something else in the future. So keep it saved separately, but don’t expect it to be utilized in its entirety. If nothing else, use that work for reference, showing it to future clients or simply publishing it on your network.

While it, undeniably, is great when clients are clear and specific about what they want from their designer, it is also the designer’s job to ensure their guidelines are clear. It’s a two-way road after all. For all the times you aren’t as fortunate and get stuck with something called a ‘bad design’, now you know that you don’t have to fret over it as much.

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