Disconcerting Design Fails That Have Us Running For The Hills

By Jhoana C October 21, 2021

We hire designers for a reason. They are supposed to be experts in their craft and know how to conceptualize, make products look appealing, and convince people to pay for such products or services. However, they aren’t always spot-on. There are days when they are off their game and when they are not at their absolute best. Most of the time, these designers underdeliver and overpromise. Instead of coming out with exceptional designs, we get the subpar quality that makes us shake our heads. Instead of delighting everyone, their creations end up disgusting, disconcerting, and displeasing people. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? We sure do. It’s such a waste of our time and money to pay people of such caliber and skill who have no idea what they’re doing. Here are a few examples of when designs went horribly downhill.

Is that ginger turned into a chair?

Design is subjective, and it elicits different emotions from people. One thing that looks disgusting to others may be delightful to some. If it’s ugly to others, it may be a thing of beauty to some. However, there are plenty of moments when people construe the same opinion about a certain object.

Image courtesy of Toucannugge/Reddit

This chair, for instance, is something that most people don’t find appealing. We are pretty sure that its looks have a lot to do with being categorized as ugly. Just look at that thing! It looks like a lump of dough or ginger that turned into a chair. And no, we don’t want to sit there.

Do you think students will be comfortable with this?

If you want your students to score high on their exams, they need to be in an environment that’s devoid of distractions; a place where they can concentrate. You also want to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

Image courtesy of FreeProfi/Reddit

One of the things you should never do is provide them with this exam table because it’s not going to help at all. The elephant doesn’t even look happy. It looks distressed and melancholy. We can’t help but wonder what happened to it.

We’ll skip the shower today and every day

If your shower looked like this, you’d be terrified and turned off, too. It will scare you and convince you that showers are overrated and that you can survive without taking one for days, regardless if you start smelling and scaring off people around you.

Image courtesy of Deshaies/Reddit

Clowns are already scary by themselves. They have that perennial smile on their faces that always makes them look like they’re up to something. Add to that Pennywise and clown serial killers that we’re suspicious of, especially in the shower of all places.

We’d rather not put our phones in those

Smartphones cost hundreds of dollars, and nowadays, they are regarded as extensions to our lives, so it is only right that we take good care of them. Phone cases come in different designs, colors, and sizes, but all of them are made to protect your phone and prolong its life.

Image courtesy of This_Chaotic_Life/Reddit

One person thought of designing a phone case wrapped in artificial skin to make it look and feel more natural. We are shaking our heads because we don’t need our phones to feel like somebody is brushing up against us.

That man has a great love for SpongeBob

Some cartoon shows make a lasting impression on audiences that most people will still recognize even if years have passed and the shows are no longer aired on TV. They become part of a generation, and a perfect example of this is SpongeBob Squarepants.

Image courtesy of Mr_Jayden_Clark/Reddit

The yellow underwater character is featured in movies and referred to in pop culture often. The owner of this vehicle obviously has so much love for the cartoon character that he’s made sure SpongeBob is part of his car’s décor.

The look on Santa’s face

We have all heard the Christmas song that goes something like, “children better watch out and better not cry,” because Santa knows if they have been a bad or good child. Good children are rewarded while children who behave badly during the year won’t get what they wish for.

Image courtesy of Geigudr/Reddit

This Santa gives us an idea of an omniscient or omnipresent being who is constantly watching us, but the look on this Santa’s face has got us and a few parents worried. What did he see that led to that look on his face? We’re curious.

There’s something fishy going on here

Undoubtedly. Finding Dory was one of the most successful animated movies ever released. In the United States and Canada, it earned $486.3 million, and it earned a total of $1.029 billion worldwide. It made the forgetful fish the “star fish” we have come to know and love.

Image courtesy of creepydesign/Reddit

However, how Dory is depicted on this item makes us think that something fishy is going on here. What have they done to her? We believe that someone is out there deliberately sabotaging Dory and making her look less like herself.

This needs to be put away fast

Our first thought when we saw this was what happened to this mannequin and why was it designed to look that way? One thing is for sure, though. This needs to be put away fast because we don’t think patrons will be encouraged to purchase merchandise when they see it.

Image courtesy of dearzoez/Reddit

It looks tired, and it looks like it needs to hit the sack soon. It could very well be past his bedtime, which is why he looks that way. Even mannequins need their beauty rest, too. They work hard all day modeling clothes and getting people to notice them.

We didn’t know ice cream in France was scary

We all scream for ice cream, and it is one of our favorite desserts. It’s an excellent snack on a sweltering summer day, and if you’re having a bad week, it’s the perfect comfort food to pick you up and make you feel happier.

Image courtesy of OnlyUnoMan/Reddit

However, this ice cream parlor mascot in France does not give us happy and cozy feelings. It’s making us feel stressed, and truth be told, frightened. They ought to change their mascot ASAP because it’s going to scare children away.

No, we can’t sleep with this on

Some people like horror so much that they deliberately scare themselves. However, others don’t like being frightened and can’t sleep after reading or hearing scary stories. If you belong to the latter group, you wouldn’t like having this doll around.

Image courtesy of howardkinsd/Reddit

This doll nightlight might look creative to some, but it’s definitely alarming to others. We bet many people wouldn’t be able to have a good night’s sleep with it on because it looks like a prop for a horror movie.

We’d never order this kind of blanket

Nowadays, it’s quite easy to get your hands on customized mugs, pillows, and blankets. You can have anything and everything personalized and customized, and many people might ask to put their loved one’s name or picture on different items.

Image courtesy of MonsterNearby/Reddit

But, we’d never go as far as this lady did. She requested that the entire blanket be covered with her baby’s face. We understand that mothers can’t get enough of their adorable babies, but we don’t see many of them going to this extent.

What’s with the fingers?

Most, or all of us, have seen ‘Caution’ signs warning people that they need to be careful on slippery floors, roads, bridges, and sidewalks. If you’ve ever looked closely at them, you would have noticed that the drawings on these signs don’t have fingers.

Image courtesy of sunshinemicrobe/Reddit

Except for this one, and that’s what made it stand out and what made people notice it. We have to admit that it looks weird because we’re not used to seeing these drawing with fingers. Are they trying to upset the status quo?

We can’t pee with this looking at us

Japan is the land of the quirky, the kawaii, the technologically advanced, and at times, downright weird things. Ask anyone who’s been there, and they will tell you that they have a penchant for strange concepts a lot of the time.

Image courtesy of Itchy-Coconuts/Reddit

A case in point is this giant head inside a bathroom in a bar in Shinjuku. Were they trying to startle the alcohol away from drunk revelers using the bathroom? Perhaps they were trying to scare people away or make them pee faster.

Evil SpongeBob

SpongeBob was featured earlier on this list, but it seems like he deserves more spots on this list because one isn’t enough for him, and he’s coming back for seconds. This time, it’s not the good SpongeBob, but his evil twin who hasn’t emerged from the depths until now.

Image courtesy of RATATATTATATATTATA/Reddit

We don’t trust this SpongeBob because he looks like he’s not going to do anything worthwhile. The look on his uncanny face is quite scary, and he seems like he’s going to trap people, young children and adults alike.

More terrifying mannequins

When are people in retail going to learn their lesson? Using terrifying mannequins to model clothes and other items is not going to help drive sales up. You want friendly faces in your shop, so you don’t scare customers away.

Image courtesy of dumpaday.com

These two mannequins are going to be the reasons why the store will lose money. Just look at them! They are not inviting at all, and we sure are not going to spend money in a place that displays mannequins that belong in horror movies.

Is Dora being punished?

We know that Dora liked to explore. She wouldn’t be named Dora the Explorer if she didn’t, but did they have to punish her for her propensity to travel to an unknown and faraway place by having her back carved out?

Image courtesy of SeamoSto/Reddit

In all seriousness, though, they have designed this carnival ride in the worst way possible. We think that young children are going to be put off by it and concerned. You would be, too, if your childhood hero were made to look as if she’s in distress.

Feed me!

This seems to scream, “Feed me, or I will eat you!” and it’s another prime example of a design that’s gone bad. We believe that this is the least popular game in the arcade because that doll creature isn’t appealing at all.

Image courtesy of bassnbluegillYT/Reddit

Granted, its lips look like most of the ladies’ lips now, with filler injections and all, but its arms are far too short. They look as if they belong to the T-rex. Designers really ought to do better when it comes to arcades.

Just eewww and what the heck

Sometimes, we think that people have run out of clever ideas and have no choice but to present less than brilliant ideas to the public. Nail art? We have seen it all, from semi-precious stones, different colors of polish, glitter, and feathers, but we never thought this day would come.

Image courtesy of tothemaonline.com

What are we talking about? We are talking about people using hair on nails as a decoration. Why would anyone want something like this to be done to their nails? It’s appalling and super distasteful if you ask us.

No more Teletubbies

Now, this is plain scary! That poor kid is hanging in there for dear life, but it looks like the monstrous version of the Teletubbies are going to abduct him and bring him to their spaceship any moment now so they can conduct experiments on him.

Image courtesy of Toucannugget/Reddit

How did they manage to make the Teletubbies look so scary? The last time we saw them on television, they were this lovable bunch of cuddly bear ET creatures who loved to hop around and play with children. My, how things have changed!

We’d rather not go to the dentist

Dentists help keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy. Without them, there will be a lot of people with tooth decay, gingivitis, and bleeding gums. No matter how nice they are, dentists just seem to have a bad rep with children.

Image courtesy of zeurgthegreat/Reddit

Perhaps one of the reasons is toys like this. They might be aimed at encouraging children to go to the dentist and to take good care of their teeth, but it seems like it’s doing the exact opposite. Just when did Nemo start growing teeth?

We don’t want to come home to this either

How would you like to be surprised by something that looked like this after a day spent shopping? There you are, headed inside your home with your shopping bags, and this thing greeted you at the garage door. Would you be happy?

Image courtesy of kennicant/Reddit

We think not because it’s plain terrifying. It looks like a child’s art project that went the wrong direction. The cat alone would be great, but they added the bird and made it seem as if the cat was about to devour it. They might have purposely done this to scare mom.

We’ve stopped eating after seeing this

Everyone loves cake. Well, maybe a few people don’t, but the majority love the sweet dessert. They are soft, fluffy, and made with different flavors. They are the perfect way to end a meal. But, after seeing this mascot, would you still keep your appetite?

Image courtesy of ProfChaos89/Reddit

We’re not gonna lie. It discouraged us. We haven’t tasted King Cakes yet, but people say it’s yummy. However, this mascot isn’t doing their cakes any favors, but you can enjoy a slice if you can get past the mascot.

This might have been meant to scare children away

We all know how children like to explore new spaces such as backyards and woody areas. Little kids are naturally curious, and they enjoy discovering new things. Sometimes, they venture too far out and get lost, which is every parent’s nightmare.

Image courtesy of NotPechente/Reddit

This frog in the forest might have been placed there to scare children away and prevent them from going deeper into the woods. It does the job well because it sure looks frightening, but we can’t help but think that it looks funny in a way too.

What happened to Jason Statham?

Jason Statham is one of the most famous action stars in the world today. He has starred in some of the most popular and highest-grossing films, such as Hobbs and Shaw, The Transporter, Spy, and The Fast and the Furious franchise.

Image courtsy of Derp_1997/Reddit

However, the person who made this, uhm, must not be a big fan because it sure makes Jason look less than human. He looks like an angry cheetah who has been denied the biggest paycheck of his life. Was he turned down for his dream role?

This doll should be taken off the market

Dolls are supposed to look friendly and beautiful because children wouldn’t play with them otherwise. Who would want to buy a doll that looks scary? Well, perhaps only a few people who like to collect frightening stuff, and that’s not us.

Image courtesy of thefishgodThallas/Reddit

This doll, on the other hand, should be taken off the market pronto. It’s scary, and it’s going to cause a lot of nightmares for little ones. Just imagine waking up at night when all the lights are out, and this is the first thing you see.

This will traumatize children

You would think that for children’s toys, they have someone who checks the quality of the design aside from the materials used. It seems that such a person doesn’t exist because how else would you explain this toy being approved for the market.

Image courtesy of Exotic-Bandicoot-888R/Reddit

Design-wise, it’s a failure for us. Yes, it’s made to help children how to count and become familiar with numbers. However, the way it’s designed is scary. It reminds us of the Human Centipede. Perhaps, it is the baby version of that movie.

Hello Kitty the octopus plug

Another popular cartoon character is Hello Kitty. Her full name is Kitty White, and she is a fictional character produced by Sanrio, a Japanese company. For the most part, she looks cute and playful, and that’s why she appeals to little girls.

Image courtesy of pungen/Reddit

This Hello Kitty power strip is anything but cute or appealing. It looks like an octopus, and it is a travesty. Is there a need to fashion Hello kitty into a power strip just to sell products? Just like some people commented on the net, this is ‘Hell no Kitty!’

Another dental fail  

We need to address people’s aversion to dentistry. For some reason, going to the dentist is depicted as a scary experience in movies and television. The dental chair is often seen as a torture chair where people sit and have the dentist do horrible things to their mouth.

Image courtesy of Puuuuppyboi/Reddit

Advertisers and marketers have got to be creative when it comes to their adverts. If they are not, they are not going to convince people to come and have their teeth and mouths checked. This is a good example of what not to do.

Say ahhhh

Playgrounds are supposed to be safe and enjoyable places where kids can be themselves, interact with other tiny tots, exercise, and practice their social skills. Going up and down the slide, swinging here and there, and chasing other children are just a few examples.

Image courtesy of goofasf/Reddit

We bet, though, that this part of the playground is not popular because it looks like it’s going to devour children. Did they count the number of children in the playground? Did someone go missing? We’re sure the culprit is this fish.

That’s why nobody sits on the bench

People, we need to start paying attention to the design of things because something that’s meant to be inviting can end up looking frightening, hilarious, or disgusting because of their design. Look at the photo below. This is exhibit A.

Image courtesy of howardkinsd/Reddit

This monstrosity of a bench is not very popular, and we think we know the reason why. It’s that yellow guy standing and bending over it holding the STOP sign. They could have just put the bench there. There was absolutely no need to put the yellow guy.

Who beat this guy up?

We didn’t know that the Mafia also operated in the world of stuffed toys and cartoon characters because this guy looks like he’s been beaten to a pulp. Did he forget to pay his protection money for the month?

Image courtesy of TheNore/Reddit

Either that, or he owed people money and forgot to pay the monthly dues why resulted in him looking like that. We pity him because we know he’s trying to make an honest living. It might be a better idea to move to a new town.

What in the world?

For the most part of this list, it seems that people designing things for children don’t have the slightest idea what they are doing because we have seen far too many fails, and you can add this one to this list. This is real, and it isn’t funny in the slightest bit.

Image courtesy of Souper_Troll/Reddit

When talking about the Chicago Children’s Museum, you’d think of them in a high regard, but even they can’t be spared from a few design blunders now and then. This bench is scary, and we don’t think little boys and girls will like it.

So this is why children were crying?

The next time you hear a few children crying, you should look around you. Chances are, there are things in the vicinity that’s scaring them or making them uncomfortable. This is what seems to be happening in this McDonald’s outlet in Belgium.

Image courtesy of metamorphosis_/Reddit

The culprit? We are certain it’s the children’s high chair. They sure look hostile, as if they are about to do something awful to the children once their parents look away. We are not going to bring our little ones here because we want them to be able to sleep at night.

Why would you even advertise cannibalism?

Only one thing comes to mind when we see this poster, and that is cannibalism. Yup, you heard that right. Why else would a sandwich eat another sandwich? We don’t know what the designers had in mind when they made this.

Image courtesy of PieRat7/Reddit

If they thought that this was going to drive their sales up, they are badly mistaken. People will be flocking far away from the restaurant. This poster is ugly and off-putting, and there are no better words to describe it.

The Terminator’s daughter

Remember the Terminator? One of the most popular movie franchises in the world? If the Terminator has a child, this baby here would be his daughter. How can we tell? Because she inherited his eye. You can’t deny the patrimony here.

Image courtesy of brankaivanovic321/Reddit

When the baby grows up, we are quite sure that she will look a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger. It doesn’t matter if the baby is wearing a lavender tutu and looks ready to crawl and laugh adorably. We are not going anywhere near it.

This seems fit for Halloween

Halloween is the time for not only children to trick or treat but also for adults to decorate their homes and pretend that they are someone else with a myriad of costumes. A lot of people take their Halloween decorations seriously.

Image courtesy of ulissesberg/Reddit

But we think that there’s no one more serious than this guy. Look at that face in the front yard! It’s guaranteed to scare people away and not even think about kids coming to your door asking for a treat when they see this.

Another nightmare ad

What is it with people or animals with exaggerated teeth? They look nightmarish! First, it was Nemo, then the cow, and then we have these people on the train with their very large teeth. Designers should take note of this.

Image courtesy of howardkinsd/Reddit

Unless they are trying to scare people away from a particular place. Giant weird smiles are not friendly. As a matter of fact, they remind us of the Joker. Remember that creepy baby with the dentures? This is what it’s going to look like when it grows up.

Somebody is watching you

If you catch this watching you, would you be happy? We don’t think so. First, it reminds people of someone they don’t like, and that is the orange man himself, the Trumpster. It’s got Mr. T’s expression down to a T.

Image courtesy of Ghostfrog46/Reddit

The pursed lips, the eyes, and everything is freaky. He knows everything you are doing because he is watching over you. But, this is something we wouldn’t pay money for because we don’t want that face staring at us from the shelf.

Thankful we don’t have this anymore

This vintage chalk packaging is the stuff of nightmares. Look at that grin on the clown’s face! Coulrophobia or the fear of clowns is a real thing, and it can be a debilitating fear. This packaging is going to make those with coulrophobia start having panic attacks.

Image courtesy of StBlaschek/Reddit

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, we don’t like clowns because they have that perpetual grin on their face that masks their true emotions. We never actually know what they are feeling, planning, or thinking about.

Here goes SpongeBob again

Goodness, gracious! Why was this design approved in the first place, and why did anyone think that putting this outside is going to attract children to the store? It looks like the nightmare version of SpongeBob and Patrick Starfish!

Image courtesy of RaptorDoggo/Reddit

We are discovering a trend on this list, and we don’t like it one bit. Why do they always make SpongeBob traumatizing? He’s supposed to be a funny and lovable guy, albeit a bit dense and not the most intelligent.

A kid with an identity crisis

What do you call someone who has a little girl’s body with an angry man’s head? We also don’t know as such hasn’t been documented yet. We know of centaurs and other mixed beings, but we certainly haven’t heard or read about this one.

Image courtesy of Forward-Homework2570/Reddit

This ‘kid’ mannequin needs to be corrected ASAP. If the real head is lost, they could have just used the mannequin without it. There’s no reason to attach an angry guy’s head there. We are shaking our heads over here.

Brush your teeth or else this guy will get you

Dentists and our parents have been telling us for a long time to brush our teeth or else we will suffer from tooth decay and various gum problems later on. However, there are some times when we don’t heed what we hear.

Image courtesy of whiskeyballs/Reddit

We eat a lot of sweets and go to sleep without brushing our teeth. This creation aims to put a stop to that by looking all scary. If you don’t brush your teeth regularly, it’s going to break into your home to get you. You might just be convinced because it looks like it belongs to horror movies.

Terrible Tubers

Potatoes are staples in most of the world’s cuisines because it has plenty of health benefits. They’re starchy, delicious, and easy to prepare for a variety of dishes, and it’s no wonder people love them. However, this packaging is going to scare people away from potatoes.

Image courtesy of zeethreepeeo/Reddit

Look at how they look while pointing to their own kind! They look nightmarish, as if they are going to force you to cook and eat potatoes or else. There’s going to be a lot of problems. We promise we’re going to eat as many potatoes as we can.

Enough teeth!

They really ought to put a stop to adding huge teeth and weird-looking smiles to advertisements because it’s not doing any good. It’s only adding to the massive stack of design fails, and frankly, we don’t need more of that.

Image courtesy of tone_deaf_bard_/Reddit

Not only is this colossal billboard a blatant lie, but it’s also poorly designed. Whoever created this and agreed for it to become a billboard should be ashamed of themselves. They should hire a better designer and researcher because it’s misleading.

The stuff of nightmares

Here we go again with items that are the stuff of nightmares. When you look at the photo on the left, you wouldn’t think that there is anything wrong with it. It’s nothing but an innocent-looking Finding Dory toy.

Image courtesy of MattNavarra/Reddit

However, when you turn off the lights and this thing starts illuminating the room, it’s when things take a turn for the worse. This would make a good Halloween decoration, but we don’t think little children will appreciate it.