• Gemma Waite

Design by Committee – The Death of Creative Design

Updated: May 10, 2018

Let’s face it, everyone wants everyone they ask to LOOOOVE what they have just produced (or just paid someone to produce). And design is so very subjective. But if you take every man, woman and chihuahua’s advice on your design, you’ll end up with very luke-warm creative.

Polarising is a good thing. A little like ‘any PR is good PR’, polarising design get’s reaction. Of course, the ideal is that everyone loves your new design but if people are talking about why they hate it, more people will join the conversation and maybe even look past that conversation to a sale. And lets be honest, people are far more likely to talk about things they don’t like than things they do!

Now, don't get me wrong, bad design is bad. And this is no excuse to go and design something awful, outdated and ugly to get a reaction. But interesting, edgy, unexpected. That gets reaction!

And please don’t apply the same rule to customer service or product quality! If people hate that, you’re in trouble and you need to lift your socks up. But design…. As long as it’s not design you’re selling… is subjective and debatable.

Design by committee produces the perfect design for the average person, average product, average, average, average. The amount of times I hear on facebook groups ‘which do you like better X or Y logo/print/design/whatever… Honestly, with the amount of opinion around, I’d be surprised if these people are any better off than when they started with all the confusion. But they amend, move things around, change colours, until the majority of people they are asking, like it. And I use ‘like’ because that is all they’ll get. It’s ‘nice’.

That dress you’re wearing is ‘nice’…. Cue slap to husband. One notch up from ‘fine’.

So what’s the solution?

  • Ask why.

  • Embrace different!

  • Hire a designer who knows what they’re doing (this can be a hard find but they are out there!).

  • Trust said designer.

  • Design with purpose.

  • Don’t ask your friends, go with your gut (and your designer), and stop designing by committee.


© ​GEMMA WAITE 2013 / Call +61 411 015 867 / email

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