The sinks in the H2 Bike Club in Soho are a triumph of design over functionality: the classic design error. In all walks of life designers so often get it wrong because they fail to consider the practical as well as the aesthetic. Bad editorial design similarly adds hours to production time.
The sink has no taps. Instead a temperamental sensor eventually picks up the motion of your waving hands and lets out a short, timed stream of tepid water that is not hot enough for a good shave and horribly warm if you need to clean your teeth. What was so wrong with hot and cold taps?
To top it all the sink itself sits on a flat work surface that is slightly tilted forward, so any water that splashes over the side of the porcelain run down you legs or splashes on your feet. So it looks lovely, but is worse than useless.
There isn’t a direct editorial comparison but designers often get it wrong. Here are some simple errors:
- Lines between columns of text – they have to be put in manually and each has to have its length adjusted individually.
- Separate text boxes for each column – each has to be adjusted and moved separately. A box with the correct number of column in it is much easier, and therefore, quicker to layout.
- Huge file size images in the background – I once had a design where a 2mm strip of a photo was used as regular page furniture, only the designer had left the full-size pic behind a small thin picture box, making the page file size enormous.
I could go on, but you get the picture. A great template with comprehensive stylesheet can make editorial production simple and fast. Often a decent layout sub can do a whole magazine. And with fewer staff than ever to sub and layout, that is important.
The great designers are getting this right. For the rest, there’s still the wheel to reinvent.