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Graphic design mistakes and blunders - part III

blackboard-wrong-answerMistakes on Purpose?
The principles you learn in graphic design school are meant to teach you the basics of design, composition and artistic technique.

Once you know the rules you can sometimes break them for effect.

In this article, we'll go over a few errors. Can you tell if they were done on purpose or are they real mistakes? (Click on the images to see the larger versions.)

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What's wrong with this picture?
Nicki Minaj is a successful hip hop singer who likes to reveal her personal experiences in the song lyrics she writes. Her most recent album, Pink Friday, has her posing as a Barbie doll.

Upon the release of the album many fans and non-fans remarked that the doll's legs were highly disproportional to the rest of its body and that the arms seemed to be missing as well.

Question: Is this design by mistake or on purpose? (Make your decision before looking at the answer.)
nicky-minaj-pink-friday-cover
Answer: On purpose

According to GL Wood, the photographer who shot the image, the effect of distortion was used to make a statement about the "perfect" Barbie image and lifestyle.

"[Nicki] wanted to rip [the doll's] arms off to really do the whole Barbie theme; [it's] like when little girls trash their dolls. She wanted to look like one of those broken Barbies.

"There [are] people who are going to get it and not get it, but that's the point. There [are] few if any female artists now who are pushing the envelope. And that's far from a bad thing."
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The image is shocking and attention grabbing and many fans say that they expected no less from Nicki Minaj.

Prada goes negative
Prada is a well-known brand among fashionistas. But just how do you publicize the latest fashion line produced by this company? Do you use bright colors or do you use close-ups of the models?

In this ad, Prada decides to go starkly minimalist.

Question: Is this a design mistake or done on purpose?
pravda-less-is-more
Answer: On purpose

As a photographer, art director or graphic designer the very idea of not filling in blank space is hard to overcome. However, the concept of negative space can be very effective in emphasizing an idea or product.

In this Prada advertisement the design draws you to the two biggest ideas of the image: Prada and the clothes. Nothing distracts you from these two points.

But one thing does seem to surface as a mistake; the model could have been angled slightly more to the right in order to show her arm instead of an empty shoulder sleeve.

We know -- picky, picky, picky.

drawing-perspectiveGraphic design school and the principles of graphic design
Beethoven produced some of the most beautiful classical music ever composed. But music students frequently point out "mistakes" in his harmony such as recurring parallel fifths.

But as one music teacher said, "You need to know the rules before you break them. He knew he was breaking the rules."

Graphic design college helps you to be proficient in proper layout, design and technique. You'll also understand that sometimes breaking the rules can be of benefit in designing your graphics.

Speak to a graphic design school representative to see what courses can help you in your design skills.

Next Time...
We'll take a close look at fashion advertisements and see how too much or too little Photoshopping can hurt a design.


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Graphic & Web Design (BFA)
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Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
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Graphic Arts (AAS)
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Graphic Design and Animation
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Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
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