The Signs of Bad Design

Experience design is about helping people do things—solve problems, achieve goals, have a great time. It’s not always easy. And the practitioners of design don’t always get it right. In other words, bad design exists.

I’ve found that where there’s bad design, there’s a sign. And I mean literally: an after-the-fact placard or note, sometimes scribbled in marker and taped up in haste. They are a stopgap for a design solution that’s failed to achieve its intended purpose.

Such signs are amusing for a content designer like me. (It’s less amusing when you are asked to write them.)

Below is a growing collection, The Signs of Bad Design. Should you find a Sign of Bad Design in the wild, send it along to .


Collect em all

Choke on this
Extraneous labels, ignored conventions
Do not enter, exit only
Sorry no pizza
We could be zeroes
Be reasonable, be quiet
Turn around, bright eyes
Permanently fixed
Don’t have an emergency here
Do not water
This sign is a crime