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Beaten with an Ugly Stick

We’re discussing design philosophies only a mother could love.

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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. 

Q for You

Raise your hand if you're a font nerd:

CSS Gradient

Building out a gradient for web projects just got easier. CSS Gradient is a cool, freebie, online tool that makes it simple as pie to create fresh web gradients. Just add the colors and positions you would like to the builder, slide it around until you’re happy, and copy the generated code! Don’t like that? Fine, choose from gradient swatches, read up on other gradient know-hows, or check out some inspiration all with CSS Gradient’s site.

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Under the Fitfluence

Planet Fitness released a new ad campaign with fitness influencer Xrystal (who has an actual parody account on Instagram – @xystralwithanx). Xrystal gives us some pretty ridiculous fitness routines and hacks. And while that mini kettlebell is adorable, fitness really doesn’t have to be that complicated. Planet Fitness provides realistic fitness solutions and convenient app features. Check out their two ads featuring the fitfluencer!

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“The alternative to good design is always bad design. There is no such thing as no design.” 

Adam Judge


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