Design is hard. Whether it’s an advertisement, a poster, a piece of furniture, or a building layout, a tremendous amount of thought goes into making it all work. Or as seen with these 50 fails, sometimes, designers don’t give their work much thought at all. Here are 50 times designers tried but failed.
1. How to make new friends
Who doesn’t love peeing near to someone else? Those urinals are close enough for two people to touch butts, which is everyone’s public bathroom nightmare. I think people would go out of their way to never use this bathroom.
2. Quit school!
This motivational advertisement is supposed to encourage people to stop smoking, but unfortunately, it’s on the back of a school bus. Instead of encouraging better habits, it looks like it’s encouraging school dropouts.
3. Best fish and chips…uh…
Okay, we see what they were going for here. But something got lost in the translation. It’s awkward enough to make you do a double-take as you look at it, ruining its effectiveness.
4. Designed by an evil genius
This looks like a trap: the fire escape is safe and accessible from all the windows in the building. Unfortunately, it leads right into a cage, which isn’t going to be very helpful if there’s a fire.
5. Wait, what do I do?
The longer you look at this, the less sense it makes. All I know is that I’m supposed to close the door. But the reasons for that? I have no idea.
6. Thanks, I hate it
Katerina Kamprani is an artist who intentionally makes objects designed to be useless and therefore frustrating. Just take these terrible rain boots that would be completely worthless in a rainstorm.
7. How to avoid unwanted visitors
Do you hate having unwanted visitors? Here’s one way to deter them. Just put your front door somewhere where no one can ever reach it. Of course, you won’t be able to leave, either.
8. It’s too bad there was no more space for this banner
This banner has an important message, but it’s a little difficult to read. It’s like the people who made it didn’t know there was an entire blank wall right there.
9. This is one way to get rid of all your Legos.
Note the warning up at the top: suitable for children to know the difference between plastic and sweets. Parents everywhere know that this is a quick way to their kids visiting the emergency room with a tummy full of blocks.
10. “I’ll just go out the back door.”
This door serves absolutely no purpose. Maybe that space once had a balcony but now it’s the world’s most dangerous surprise drop? Hopefully, they keep it bolted from the inside.
11. That is unfortunate.
There’s not a thing wrong with this advertisement …until you open the car door, that is. Then it sends a somewhat different message. Don’t tell your mom why you’re snickering.
12. I feel like someone should have spotted this
Hey, what’s the worst possible place you could put the blow-up valve on any balloon, let alone a figure from a popular children’s movie? Well, the creators of this one found it.
13. You wouldn’t understand
The fashion world is complex and subjective, so not everybody gets it. If you snickered at “Fashion Fart,” maybe you’re just not an artist. Nah, just kidding, we snickered too.
14. I don’t see the problem here
This bag is supposed to say “Shoes n’ shoes,” but the unintuitive placement of the S makes it look an awful lot like “hoes n’ hoes.” It’s awkward enough to make everyone do a double-take as they walk by.
Okay, we’re assuming that’s supposed to say “BLOCK out Cancer” or “Black out Cancer” but why on earth did anyone think they should put an M letter tile in the middle? If you have to stop and translate, it’s probably not a great design.
16. Something bad happened to Peppa
Peppa Pig is a popular British children’s cartoon about a young female pig and her family. She’s known for having two eyes on the side of her head. She’s not known for…this horrifying nightmare.
17. This poster is a good camouflage for real words
Oh, get it? They tried to make a play on words with “flag” and “camouflage” because of patriotism. They could have done it by bolding the word or putting the letters in a different color, but they went another, more confusing route.
18. For anyone who wants to shower in Gojo
As you can see by the door frame right beside it, this soap dispenser is miles above where any normal person’s hands are. For whatever reason, someone thought that was the perfect height for hand soap.
19. That’s definitely how I feel about fitness
Oh, it says “E-fit,” as in “electronic fitness.” We don’t know exactly what that means, but we do know the design is probably not supposed to say “Eff it.”
20. Well this is upsetting
Hey, have you been looking for the perfect bathing suit for this summer? How about this horrifying anatomically correct one? It’ll be a conversation starter for sure as people gaze at your intestines.
21. If you reach the top of the stairs alive, you get a prize
The worst possible time to trick someone into losing their footing is on a flight of stairs. The best way to do that? Whimsical step designs like this one.
22. Long-armed person entrance – that away
This helpful sign towers above everyone’s heads, showing them the way to the entrance of the building while also forever scarring their children with its nightmare arms.
23. How to scar your children forever
Have you ever wondered “What’s the worst, most terrifying design for a playscape ever?” Well, don’t worry. These designers found it and used it. Now you’ll never forget. And neither will those poor kids who had to climb through it.
24. Paging Dr. Tobias Fünke…
A couple of things could have been done to avoid this horrible design fail. A different font, capital letters, and lowercase, or just making sure there were no spaces at this worst possible place.
25. This is terrible and they should feel terrible
There are so many different facets to this one. It looks awful and it’s a real tripping hazard. Can you imagine trying to ride a bike over this? It would have taken only the slightest amount of planning to avoid.
26. Um, about that…
In what might be the most ironic packaging ever, this screwdriver kit needs a screwdriver to open it. Since screws aren’t a normal part of product packaging, we have to wonder who came up with this idea.
27. Don’t make eye contact
Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with someone else in a public bathroom? How about while they’re peeing and you’re washing your hands? If this all sounds like a dream come true, we’ve got a bathroom for you.
28. The perfect place for a pillar
Even something as boring as a retail store has a lot to think about in the way of design. You want to make sure your customers can easily and comfortably get around. You wouldn’t want, for example, a giant pillar in the middle of a walkway.
29. Because women are left always right
Oh, I get it. You’re supposed to read from top to bottom. Unfortunately, that’s not the way our eyes work, so it took me a good 10 seconds to figure it out.
30. We don’t quite have the concept of acronyms down
Didn’t we all learn how to make acronyms in kindergarten? The person who designed this poster must have been absent that day because it’s hilariously bad. Technically, it should be “In the dining room we CUUL”.
31. The ellipses are a nice touch
This shirt was designed by someone who has no idea of what feminism is. But they know that it’s popular and that it includes buzzwords like “female,” “future,” “female,” “future,” and uh… “future.”
32. It’s the thought that counts…
This California town was trying to send a heartfelt message of support to towns suffering from wildfires. Unfortunately, they decided to express that in the form of red, fiery lights.
33. Well if you insist
It doesn’t matter how much you want to but you absolutely may not turn right here. Even if you’re possessed by an overwhelming desire to just gun the engine straight into the river, you can’t. Go somewhere else for that.
34. Um …then I will use the British shop
There aren’t a lot of options on this website, but at least it offers the illusion of choice. You can either stay in the UK shop or go to the, uh…well, the UK shop.
35. Applebee’s is no longer family-friendly
Look, someone found the worst possible spot to put an electrical outlet — right into the mural of a sports figure. Some poor employee has to think about that guy every day.
36. Hooray for cannibalism!
This one might be up for a little more interpretation, but you can’t deny that it does sort of look like this school cafeteria is pretty excited about eating…people.
37. *screams into the void*
Here is another one of Kamprani’s intentionally useless designs, which is so aggravating that you can barely stand it. I just want to smash it into a million pieces, which I guess is kind of the point.
38. Drink your coffee TOGETHER
This is clearly intended to be a cute, meaningful design, but in practice, it’s a nightmare. What are you supposed to do, drink in tandem with your beloved? “One, two, three — SIP!”
39. The wheelchair ramp of DEATH
We’ll give them credit for trying to make the facility accessible. Of course, anyone who tries to take that ramp on wheels will probably end up in the hospital.
40. How to ruin your floor while water punches you in the face
They’re trying hard to market this shower as a luxury item, but it looks terrible. No one has ever asked for six separate jets to hose them down in the middle of a bedroom. No one. Ever.