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Apologies to Scottish Water for choosing its work to illustrate my point. To be honest, it could have been almost anyone, but these designs particularly inspire me and, let’s face it, they’re beauties (they were oddities that slipped through the new design guidelines and have since been replaced).

While designers often find stimulation in the great classics of design or in obscure graphic treasures hand-picked from around the world, my approach is a little more prosaic. I am inspired by poor – no, let’s say it – bad design.

What? Yes, I’m inspired by design which fails to communicate, design which has never been seen by a half-decent designer or writer, design which, as a result, just doesn’t work. Why? Because, bad design is a great opportunity.

Fortunately, I still see lots of examples of bad design, stuff that comes from clients who consider themselves designers or writers and don’t really understand what we do. So, inspiration is everywhere, let’s use it. Let’s continue to educate businesses on how to buy design, how to make design effective and how to find the right consultancy to work with in the first place. It might mean a bit less inspiration for me, but I can live with that.

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