The sole reason why excellent graphic designers do poor designs

January 19, 2017
3 min read

I always wondered why excellent designers come up with poor designs. These are people I have worked with in the past and can vouch for their quality of work. But these days when I see designs done by them I am left wondering. For a designer like me, it's really a painful sight to behold an excellently packaged product wrapped in an ugly label.

The truth is that no matter how much you spend on packaging, something as minute as a poorly designed label can make nonsense of your effort. I have seen brands that spent less on product packaging but have nice designs -- their products ended up looking premium. On the other hand, I have seen brands that spent a fortune on product packaging but got designs that looked tacky, thereby making them look cheap.

90% of the time, clients make their purchasing decision based on just the look and feel of the product. Believe it or not, you can beat a competitor that is well known in your niche, just by making your design better than theirs.

This brings me do the question of the day


Why do good graphics designers churn out bad jobs?

It's not because of their design software, neither is it because of the state of their machine. A good designer is a good designer, even if he or she is using Windows 98 with Photoshop 7 loaded in it. The problem lies with the client. The fact is that the public is more familiar with bad design than good design and in effect conditioned to prefer bad design because that is what it lives with. The new becomes threatening while the old reassuring.

I can still remember doing a clean and simple design for a client hoping to get an “oh my God and I love it” response, but in return the client turned to me and said, “I don’t like it. I need you to add more colours and elements so that the money I paid my printers wouldn’t be in vain.

”You see the mentality of a typical client! They believe, the busier the design the better when in actual fact, the reverse is the case. There is a saying that goes, “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Great designs are born out of two things -- simplicity and clarity. There is one truth about clients who insist on staying in their comfort zone, if you do bad work for them, it will in turn lead to many other bad designs; whereas if you do good work for clients who are willing to let you as the designer do your job, it will lead to other good designs.. This just shows that if you stick with just putting out your best as a good designer, only creative clients with high taste of quality will come your way.

The sad truth is that if you work with a firm that only appreciates bad designs, you are stuck with churning out bad designs and will never attract clients who know and want good designs. But if you own your own establishment, you can make the ground rules.

Bob Gill said, “I’ve never had a problem with a dumb client. There is no such thing as a bad client. Part of our job is to do good work and get the client to accept it.”

I totally agree with him on this and this is the principle I have adopted for But here is the twist; I’m not saying you should totally neglect the client's opinion, no! All I am saying is, as a good designer, you should know where to draw the line between good and bad. You should know that the client is not a creative person and as such, it’s your job to educate him or her.

Before you start getting excited about this and how you will apply it. Ask yourself are you a good designer? Don’t be in a hurry to respond. If you aren’t sure of yourself yet, please just stick with “safe zone”clients and keep doing your bad designs, after all, its what the public loves. My mom loves them too.

Photo Credit: Piyushgiri Revagar Flickr via Compfight cc

I bully myself because I make me do what I put my mind to. Find me on Twitter @MuyoSan.
I bully myself because I make me do what I put my mind to. Find me on Twitter @MuyoSan.
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I bully myself because I make me do what I put my mind to. Find me on Twitter @MuyoSan.

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