Day 275 – Bad Shots

91 – The 100 Worst Family Photos of All Time

Everybody has “bad” family photos. A shot taken at just the wrong moment capturing a weird face. A shot with something very personal taken out of context… Or a shot that really… just… shouldn’t have been taken.

Somewhere there are photos of me with a mullet in front of a computer back in the Netherlands. I cannot possibly think what I was thinking at the time, but I’m sure it made sense at the time. Unfortunately (*cough*) I cannot right now find this picture, so I’ll have to leave you without the evidence.

But I did find one with some very unkind timing.

I'm sure it was great ice cream, but... ouch!
I’m sure it was great ice cream, but… ouch!

Today’s link has a great many pictures that are just merely unfortunate. People enjoying their hobby a little too much. Trying too hard to make something remarkable. Or just being obliviously candid.

But for a handful:

  1. They should never have been taken
  2. Once taken and developed, they should have been destroyed
  3. If not destroyed, they should have *never* been shared with anyone…
  4. …especially the internet

Who are these people?
And how much therapy did the kid need?

This is the kind of photographic urge we must suppress at all costs. This is really not a picture you could ever share with anyone and not look like an incredible weirdo. The only person that might laugh (nervously) at this is the kid in the picture at age 15.

A bird… okay
A gun… well… sure… I guess, if you must
A bayonet… who?! wh… no… just no.

There is something about the juxtaposition of two favourites; a bird and a bayonet. I imagine he wanted his bird in the shot, and she would only relent if her gun could be in too. Or vice-versa. But really… whomever started it should have just given in.

It would have been merely an unfortunate picture if not for the “expertly” added inset feline face.

I don’t know what the inset cat is for. Is the cat they are hugging dead? Stuffed? Did they think it’d look cool to have their cat looking over them? Instead it just looks a little creepy.

Day 273 – Bad Design …

93 – 100 Best Designed Websites of 2012

… it could happen to anyone.
It could happen to you!

I feared the worst when I saw the words “Best Designed”.

About 60 of the linked sites are “okay” design.
About 20 of the linked sites are “good” design.
About 10 of the linked sites are “great” design.

And 10-or-so just plain stink for a variety of reasons.

7. http://www.mcmaster.com/
Just like the physical Bunnings experience. Yes, everything is technically speaking there. Yes, theoretically all the aisles are marked and organised. And yet… when you are looking for something it is almost impossible to find anything. Too many damn options. Too little design.

41. http://feefighters.com/
Possibly a victim to the fallout of HeartBleed, but… expired SSL certificate. All modern browsers display warnings for this these days, so either don’t build something that needs HTTPS, or just make sure you stay on top of the damned certificate!

78. http://jenkinstownmotors.com/
Aaaand we’re seemingly warped into the 70s? Such drab colours. Much bland. Wow! This design style makes me think of passable default templates, slightly mangled by an amateur trying to make it “their own”. With a fresher simpler colour scheme, it’d still be bland, but at least passable.

91. http://www.legalzoom.com/
And it’s not just little sites that have bland down pat. Some kind of vampire seems to have sucked all the life right out of this page. It was probably a lawyer.

80. http://get.wunderkit.com/
And eventually… all links die.

The Lesson

Not everyone can be a design-guru.
I most definitely am not; the design on this site is definitely not inspired.

But the trick is to know when you are not, be it for lack of time, or for lack of skill.

(sufficiently advanced ineptitude is indistinguishable from a rush-job)

Once you admit you have a problem, the answer is simple.
Literally.
Simple.

As in: keep-it.

When you are not a designer, stick with simple. Start from a solid design and make only minor tweaks (as I did here). Or build your own from the simplest of elements.

Keep variety to a minimum. One font, two at most. Only a few colours, and for the love of all that is beautiful, just use Kuler already to pick a set of well-matched colours.

Minimise distractions. Don’t put boxes and lines and dividers anywhere. Absence of things is the best natural divider. Space is your friend.

Focus. If the idea of adding space as dividers scares you. If it makes you worry about what’ll scroll of the bottom of the screen… Then you probably have too much on your page to begin with. Simplify, and try again.

There are many great books on design, which might be worth reading as well.
But even then, simple is always your best friend.