The Case for Ugly Design - Carney
The Daily Carnage

The Case for Ugly Design

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? After all, ugly is a pretty subjective term. But when it comes to design, there are standards, and sometimes rules. What happens if you break them? Sometimes: eye sores. Other times: magic. 

That’s when you can make a case for “ugly design and when breaking the rules is a good move. Here are some reasons designers are doing that:

It’s a Philosophy: Beautiful is boring! The idea is that shedding the tradition away from your design will leave you with genuine, interesting, “smarter” results. It’s that “down with the man” fire in designers’ bellies that drives them.

It’s Progressive: This is where the philosophy can get a little deeper than design, but beauty standards, filters, and edited photos get into a new layer of editorial design that is starting to become out of touch. Be real! Be raw!

It Defies “The Grid”: Non-traditional layouts break you out of the same editorial boxes that many designers find themselves repeating. 

It’s a Whole Typeface Movement: Reject the standards! Fonts can mark whole movements in time. There’s a resurgence in experimentation and the blending of serifs and sans serif type faces. 

Fun Fact on “Grotesque” (a.k.a. Grotesk, Gothic) – Generally, grotesque is used as a synonym for sans serif fonts. It all started with an 1815 set of sans serif fonts that were affectionately referred to as “grotesque” because they were thought to be ugly for publishing. 

It’s Freeing: Just give the people what they want. People are complex. And weird. And distracted. Free your design, and you may just capture their attention.

Check out Fast Company’s piece for visual examples and a deeper dive into the uggo philosophies. 

Stay creative out there, creatives. 


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