Creatives Share Their Worst Design F***-Ups. What was yours?

I came across this article about designers sharing their worst design mistakes: https://designtaxi.com/news/402054/Creatives-Share-Their-Worst-Design-F-Ups-And-If-You-Thought-Your-Day-Sucked/

Some funny stories I’m sure we can all relate to. What was your most epic mistake as a designer?

1 Like

LOL … some of those are just sooooooo funny and sooooo bad lol :smiley:

I have nightmares about printing calendars.

1 Like

Wasn’t my mistake but I saw the result.
At a former company I worked at, the designer put the company return address in the atomic area for the mail sorter. Rather than 5000 postcards going to clients, they all came back to the office.

3 Likes

Mine was more of an “almost F***-Up,” but it still scared the crap out of me.

I was working on a packaging job that was going to be printed in China.

I made a press quality PDF and sent it to the vendor on a Thursday. My wife and I were planning on a long weekend and took off Friday morning. When we were maybe three hours away from home, and I got a call that my client received a proof from China, and the logo was missing.

We got to the hotel, and I Facetimed with my son who was at our house. I had him go to my computer, open up the files, the logo was there, I had him make a new PDF, the logo was there, he sent out the new PDF for me as I was thinking the other PDF somehow got corrupted.

Back at work on Monday, and I just got this horrible feeling in my stomach. I pulled the files up and somehow, the white logo that was supposed to reverse out of the background got set to overprint. When something overprints, it doesn’t knock it out of the base layer. It showed up in the AI file, it showed up in the PDF, but when the file is ripped, the logo disappeared.

Yep, the logo wasn’t going to show up on the package, and it was completely my fault. I knew it wasn’t going to be fun, but I had to call my client and fess up and try to fix it – while praying that the package had not yet gone to press.

Fortunately, the plant in China saw what was happening and corrected it on their end. So, in the end, it turned out okay, but there for a while, I was popping my pants thinking this product was printed and being shipped to the US without a logo.

There’s a lesson here for everyone – and it’s something I have done religiously since that day. Never assume the PDF is ready to go. Before you send out a press quality PDF, open it in Acrobat and do the output preview. Another good test is to rasterize it in Photoshop and make sure the Photoshop file matches the PDF.

3 Likes

It wasn’t my mistake, but I was working on my company’s annual report about a dozen years ago and we had sent the file to print, printer had already printed, I believe, 150,000 reports that were around 48 pages in length. Already saddle-stitched when our CFO realizes a number is wrong, so the printer destroys all of those print outs and we send the updated file. At our company’s expense of course.

1 Like

Catalog still had some placeholder text when it went to print.

The client was very behind schedule and kept saying “one more change then we can send it to print”. I’d make the change then shoot them right back a new proof of the book, then get another email “one more change then we can send it to print”. This went on maybe 10 more times. I was so sick of hearing “just one more change”, that when they said “Send it to print”, I sent it IMMEDIATELY… not realizing they still hadn’t proofed everything and my placeholder text still appeared in a few places.

“Product Description: Lorem ipsum ut et od maionsectur rempor…”.
“Customer Review: Something about the choices of color, lorem ipsum ut et od…”

15k catalogs, and no one caught it until after they were in the mail.

2 Likes

Typo on a magazine cover headline. Reportedly the magazine owner laughed it off, couldn’t believe it got past everyone, including their own proof readers.

1 Like

I wouldn’t call any of these “Design” F***-Ups. They are more like “Production” F***-Ups. A Design F***-Up would be something like using an icon in your logo that was offensive in a foreign market, or using a typeface that is not very readable. One of the biggest industry wide F***-Ups is failure to distinguish design from production.

/rant

2 Likes

Many years ago when I was just starting out, I typed the client’s name incorrectly on the front cover. It was a perfect bound book for a local university. It had gone through many rounds of proof reading and may sets of eyes, yet somehow the front cover had been missed from editing. The mistake was only caught after the job was printed and delivered. Thankfully, we were able to slice 1 mm off the spine, take off the offending cover and glue on a new cover instead of having to reprint all the pages.

I worked in pre-press for over 10 years too so I’ve seen many designers supply art with white logos set to overprint. It is more common than you think!

1 Like

I worked in pre-press for over 10 years too so I’ve seen many designers supply art with white logos set to overprint. It is more common than you think!

3 Likes

As a newer graphic designer I am always willing to take on different tasks in order to push myself. So my dad asked me for a logo for his band (he’s a high school band teacher). At first he seemed like an easy going client, had colors he was interested in and even a sketch. Unfortunately he wanted exactly what he had sketched (let’s just say he is only artistic in music…) I made the logo for him, after much cringing and attempts at guidance, but he was so happy with it, I just couldn’t be mad.

That being said, it will never see the light of day on my portfolio and I will forever deny that it was my creation if I am ever asked. I am also hoping that if anyone asks him who made his logo, he will vaguely say “my daughter” since I have a 10 year old sister. I am hoping they will be impressed with her, and not look at me with “wtf” on their face.

2 Likes

I managed to spell ‘professional’ wrong on one job
I did a calendar with easter in the wrong place (November lol)
I sent out a 96 page catalogue with pages 12-13 switched (that one was down to the archiving software and Windoze but I should have checked it before we sent it out)

1 Like

Spelt a rapper’s name wrong on his lp cover art …it was on a proof.

Didn’t speak to me for 3 years.

Typo in tagline of logo. No one caught it for 3 years. I corrected all of print materials under the radar, then I supplied the corrected version to the web designer and asked if he " could just replace the one that’s up there because this new one’s color is a bit brighter."

I was pissed when I was working on a huge Photoshop document that has a million layers and a total pain to work with. I ended up naming the .psd file something totally inappropriate. Something like F@$@#ing_S&*!@_CoverArt.psd. Months later he asked for all the native files. I forgot to change the name of the file.

1 Like

That’s a pretty good one! :smiley:

One time I forgot the “O” in the word “count” on a document being distributed to 10,000 college students…

1 Like

Ohh, that wrong logo mistake sounds very familiar. I’ve done something similar, though at a smaller scale

©2019 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook