OGC gave me OCD

By John Newbold on Jun 13, 08 04:38 PM in Creative industries

So, i'm a bit behind on this story (and on my blog) but when the new OGC logo was unveiled a few months back something happened to me which has born a new obsession for amusing designs. By now most people will have seen, read about or laughed at the new OGC logo commissioned by the HM Treasury. Aside from costing £14,000 to create and being pretty underwhelming in appearance the main focus of attention has been the completely unintentional appearance of the logo when rotated 90 degrees. Suffice to say, a few red faces must've ensued given that the error wasn't spotted until the logo had not only been unveiled but also printed on a load or collateral including mousemats and pens! The point of this blog however, isn't to talk any further about that logo in particular by instead about the joyous OCD I now have for hunting down these 'design classics'. Perhaps it's the morbid fear that as a designer myself one day I could be responsible for one of these amusing slip-ups, but either way this month has been a month of coffee break 'googles' for more of the same.


My first port of call was the pages of, a blog dedicated to highlighting 'broken designs' that people have found around the globe. The blog is run by Mark Hurst a 'champion' of customer service and is aimed at 'making businesses more aware of their customer experience, and how to fix it'. As well as providing some pretty amusing examples, the site also reassured me that I hadn't become a complete freak when it comes to hunting for these examples of design foul ups! It turned out there was quite a community around this whole thing, with users sending in 'broken designs' most days to contribute to the blog.


The designers Job.....come up with a simple advertising campaign for this chocolate bar....hmmm. how about a 'Break in to 4 pieces' strapline. 4's in to 18 go..?

Next up I dived in to the always amusing world of contextual advertising. Contextual advertising or targeted advertising is the term applied to advertisements appearing on websites or other media, such as content displayed in mobile phones, where the advertisements are selected and served by automated systems based on the content displayed to the user. A great idea 99% of the time, but pretty cringe worthy for the other 1% whereby the systems 'guess' on which ad should be served doesn't quite do the trick. A few of the most unfortunate examples were included in this article found through Digg..



Finally, it turned out that Flickr had a group of 428 members contributing to a pool of useless designs. Again, a couple of gems in here including the images below!....



So, there we have it, a months googling which has finally quenched my new found OCD! Interestingly it's got me thinking about the 'value' of press that 'bad design' can generate. Obviously, you never aim for bad feedback, but you do wonder how many people wouldn't have known about the 'Office of Government Commerce' if someone had tilted their head to the side! A new hobby and a new found sharpness for double and triple checking designs....the hunt continues!

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Keith Gabriel

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Beverley Nielsen

Beverley Nielsen - Lecturer, Design Management, at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, BCU
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Dr Steven McCabe

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Francis Greene

Francis Greene - Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, at the University of Birmingham.
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Alan Gilmour

Alan Gilmour - Director at Cogent Elliott, experienced in marketing, brand development and customer relationship management.
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Paul Noon

Paul Noon - Paul Noon, OBE, West Midlands International Trade Director at UK Trade & Investment.
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