Aesthetic is the name of the game for designers, but sometimes it’s so much so that functionality or performance can get swept under the visually pleasing rug. While most kinks get ironed out by the number of people who review a designer’s work before launching, there are some cases where faulty designs have slipped through the cracks.
Everyone is prone to making the occasional mistake, but unfortunately for designers, their blunders are much more public. How these slip-ups managed to make it past review is beyond us, but whoever was responsible most likely had quite a bit of explaining to do.
Here are 24 hilarious design fails that really should have never happened.
1. You would think that proofreading a children’s book would be pretty easy, but apparently, that’s not the case. If the sole purpose of your book is to teach kids how to count, you should really do more than a once over to make sure you’re giving the right information. Hopefully, the kids who received this copy as a learning tool aren’t haunted throughout the rest of their lives by that extra banana.
2. It makes sense that they would have the painter do their job before they plastered the gender signs on top, but they really should have let them know which one was which. This is one situation where looking at the bigger picture is ultimately a mistake. You can only imagine that more people walk into the wrong washroom than the right one due to this mural.
3. At first glance, these three smiling friends enjoying a cold treat are a prime example of effective, wholesome advertising. However, when you look a bit closer, you’ll be bound to tilt your head. Not only is he completely disregarding how a normal human eats a Popsicle, he’s chosen to hold the chocolate rather than the stick provided.
4. There is a time and place for emojis, and it’s definitely not here. While this is clearly a template blunder, one can only imagine that it’s not the only one in this Diabetes-happy questionnaire. The answer “yes” doesn’t always have a smiley connotation and “no” is not always a sad option
5. Now, this is just a lawsuit waiting to happen. The effort to get kids to keep their hands free of germs is admirable, but scenting a product that can poison children as something they love to eat is a little sadistic. Unless this hand sanitizer is somehow edible as well, this product probably did not have a very long shelf life.
6. Most of our medicine cabinets end up becoming a disorganized clutter of package-less pharmaceutical mayhem, which makes these flu relief pills with visually similar but drastically different effects quite a potential nightmare. The only real good that can come from these easily mistakable pills is the plot for a sitcom episode.
7. “Make it count” is a fitting quote to display on a wall for a major sports channel. Having a basketball look like it’s been thrown so hard that it indented the wall works too. However, the choice to replace a letter with the basketball might have been a little ill-advised. Make it what?
8. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put potentially life-saving information on a near-transparent board over a busy background should probably have their duties reassigned. A black font might have been able to save this, but this slab does look removable so that people can find a dark wall in an emergency to read it.
9. If the people you are targeting with this message are struggling with the concept of consent, do you really think that they are going to understand that that donut is supposed to be part of the sentence? Sure, the donut is supposed to translate to “do not,” but this probably isn’t the best time to get cute.
10. Choose your choice wisely and hope that these two routes wrap around in some sort of loop. They really couldn’t have made this signage more confusing if they tried. Let’s just hope that if you end up in deliveries, you’ve got something to deliver, and if you end up in the customer car park, you might as well just take a break.
11. These voyeuristic stalls were supposedly created so that you don’t have to risk opening a stall door on one that’s already in use. While the idea is admirable, most people would probably rather take the leap of faith. Making direct eye contact with people mid-business seems ten times more awkward than a light door push.
12. If it’s your job to design a tiny globe, you might want to reference an actual globe just for accuracy purposes. However, maybe this designer has some personal gripes and the fact that Europe was excluded entirely from this tiny earth was completely intentional. Something tells us this was not manufactured in Europe.
13. The whole point of a bus shelter is the idea of having shelter when you have to wait for the next bus. This bus stop, however, throws that idea out the window entirely. Not only is the roofing shaped ominously enough like some sort of giant magnifying glass, it offers zero protection from the rain or a rogue bird poop.
14. Before you press submit on some text that’s about to be plastered literally all over a product, you should really make sure you use spell check. Unless this wrapping paper was created as a gag gift to torment perfectionists, there’s no reason this product should have ever actually made it to the shelves.
15. Cinderella must have done something to anger her fairy godmother because this puzzle isn’t her most flattering representation. Usually when you complete a puzzle, your eyes focus on the completed image in its entirety and not the outlines of the pieces. However, when it comes to Aurora’s nose, it’s hard to separate the two.
16. Did they make those phone ring mounts for mall gift certificates now? You would have to be one real shopaholic to make that worthwhile. This would have been such an easy fix in Photoshop, but it’s truly surprising that no one noticed this, from the person who made it to the person who put it up in the end.
17. Tie-dye has been around for decades and it’s certainly not going away anytime soon, but when it comes to shorts, blending white and brown isn’t an ideal color choice. However, if you have actually had an accident-plagued day while wearing white shorts, this is one great excuse to remember.
18. On one hand, this very dainty sink is a great idea if you’re trying to get the message of water conservation across to hopeful hand washers. However, it’s more than likely that this dismal sink has caused people to overuse hand dryers and excess paper towel due to accidents. Can’t win every battle.
19. The choice of having white text on a slightly off-white background is one thing, but having the cursor still present by the company logo? Someone was definitely fired here. Plus, this isn’t some every day advertisement, this giant signage is on H&M’s flagship store in Times Square. Yikes.
20. It makes sense that you’d want to try and get your kid to obey your household rules by using their interests. However, you might want to take a little more interest in your kid’s interests if you want this to work. Batman and Superman certainly aren’t listening to their parents unless there’s some Sixth Sense stuff going on we don’t know about.
21. For whatever reason, the logo for this Dublin Staff Relay wanted to really drive home the idea to people that it’s inclusive of both men and women. However, when the logo only shows hands, how do you make it clear one is male? A casual wrist tie and collar, apparently.
22. Something tells us that the actual title of this book isn’t, If I, By The Time You Read This, Die, I’ll Be Dead Tonight. While still fairly compelling, the real four-letter title has a much nicer ring to it. However, that probably didn’t stop a lot of confused readers from tilting their head when looking at this cover.
23. Arrows are no strangers to being plastered all over signs. Pointing people, quite literally, in the direction of a business is what most advertisements strive to accomplish. However, whoever decided on the placement of this McDonald’s sign truly didn’t think things through. Which way is the McDonald’s that’s 50m away? Hard to say when the arrow is perpetually revolving.
24. They probably should have just stuck with the lower slogan, “Unique soles for unique souls,” or at least just not crossed out average. We get that you are trying to convey that you aren’t a run-of-the-mill shoe store, but that strikeout sends a very confusing message. Whose shoe store is it if not mine?