Why Does FastCoDesign Hate Design?

Michael Aleo
Mar 12, 2015 · 2 min read

Earlier today I stumbled across Fast Company Design’s recent article, Help Us Name The World’s Most Overrated Design. Turns out there are a few more of these gems.

We’re celebrating March Madness the only way we know how: by pitting what we consider the world’s most senselessly overvalued designs against each other in one big bracket of awfulness. At the end of the month, we’ll crown the winner the World’s Most Overrated Design.

I think these disillusioned content warriors are missing the point of March Madness — which is to actually find the best basketball team in NCAA basketball, not the worst. It’s just ugly. The posts present a pretentious arrogance and never ending negativity that benefits absolutely no one.

Because here’s the thing: all of these things are someone’s work. Someone worked their asses off on most of this stuff.

Flat design, Netflix, parallax scrolling, and more. Which of these eight designs should just GFD [go fucking die] already?

And then there’s the hilarious choices the reader is presented with. Nike’s brand is overrated, right? Is designing for iPad even worth it with these declining sales? Everyone hates Spotify’s UI, right guys?

Here’s a serious list of the things nominated as worst/overrated/overvalued:

Helvetica, hand-lettering, Nike’s branding, information graphics, Netflix, Spotify, “delightful” design principles, iPad apps, the Chemex coffee maker, the Eames plywood lounge chair, the iPhone, Nest, and Frank Gehry’s Bilbao (which is literally a fucking Guggenheim museum).

This isn’t journalism, it isn’t productive, and it doesn’t help or even entertain a single person. It’s a lowly exercise in clickbaiting, and an insult to BuzzFeed at that. It’s writers publicly attacking and making fun of the work of designers. There’s not a thing on this list someone didn’t burn the midnight oil on. Which is more than you can say for this little bracket challenge. Instead of being intentionally malicious, we should be building each other up, promoting the industry as a whole, spreading design further, and pushing our peers. Anything but this.

4/5 trending articles are negative, two of which call for things to die. Christ.

Looking at the trending stories, and the dozens of comments condemning FastCoDesign’s string of negative articles, it’s clear I’m not alone.

I’ll be quietly waiting for the World’s Most Overrated, Overvalued, and Worst Magazine Bracket. I’ve got a nomination in mind.

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