Product semantics: a language of design.

I am a student currently researching product semantics and examples of bad design.

Any information including your views, links, encounters with bad design or products that just annoy you would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Laurence Willmott

This is a good website, with lots of examples of bad design.

It seems to me that the is a plethora of bad design on the web. It seems to me many people have issues with type treatment, color harmony, spacing/alignment (working on a grid) and allowing a composition to breath. I will try to find some examples and post them.

Thank you for the links!

I’ve found many examples of anti-semantic design including water faucets, doors, and telephones. If you have any other examples from your experience that would be really good.

Thank you again for the info.

Laurence Willmott

I assume that you know Donald Norman’s Book “The Design of Everyday Things”, and his partner’s website <>?

The design of everyday things (why we love or hate things)… great book, except for the last chapter about robots and stuff. Yeah, you should read it, any design students should read it.

good luck.

Just to clarify, mancho is referring to 2 seperate books by Norman:

“The Design of Everyday Things”
“Emotional Design: Why We Love or Hate Everyday Things”

Both are great reads, and should be mandatory for all design students.

I just thought of another book to take a look at…

IDEO put out a small picture book a little while back titled “Thoughtless Acts”.

It tries to capture the ways that people interact with various situations. (Mostly examples of people trying to make bad design work for them.) It can also be a source of inspiration for a project.

Hey, yes sorry, my bad, I just got confused by those two books. :smiley:

They are great books!

I dont know if you can find GUSTAVO GILI’s (publisher) books in english, they are great! some design fundamentals and great stuff.

Which books do you refer to, mancho??

They do have books in english:
(Go through the categories on the left for more)

hi, well, I´ve read two books by publisher gustavo gili (GG)…

  1. Como nacen los objetos (how objects are born… or made from scratch)
  2. Fundamentos del diseño (design fundamentals)

These are great books for design students and/or design lovers.

I tried to find these books in english on GG’s web page ( ) but I didnt find them, I dont know if they have it in english, they should.

see ya!.

Yeah, I can’t seem to find 'em either…

Thank alot for all the links and comments very much appreciated.

Any first hand encounters of bad design?

Hi Laurence,

Glad to see you using Core77 for your college work.

Have a look at Industrial Facility’s books. I recall seeing a product that’s a potato peeler and grater in one. The user hold’s the grater handle when peeling a potato, subsequently peeling their hand!

Good luck!

Michael Leung