Learning from bad examples

Back when I was a design student, we had regular guest professors giving lectures. They’d fly in once a year or during the semester and stayed for a short amount of time. We all loved that because they brought in their inspiration, different influences, and perspectives and it was plainly speaking awesome!

One of my favorites guest professors was Roger Remington – who btw. up to this day still owes me a dollar. 😉

Roger exposed us to wicked design problems such as the New York City transit map, how it was changed only to go full circle back to what it was before. He showed us the good, the bad and the ugly approaches taken to solutions, because he believed you could learn from blunders just as well as form what worked.

I think it makes total sense in that way, that looking at blunders in design can be a great learning experience for example for the ideation process. 

When ideating you want to take on different perspectives such as inverting, removing or isolating a problem. When analyzing an approach over the other you are trying to understand the thought process behind each approach and while doing this you train your ability to think in different perspectives.

You might also come to conclusions about applying an approach that didn’t work on a particular problem and give it a twist to apply it to another. 

Next time you see something that seems poorly solved, have a closer look, analyze it and see what you can learn from it. After all – bad examples help you develop awareness of what good design means and its a great vehicle to learn articulating what works and what doesn’t.

Now say something