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Could this be the most embarrassing design fail ever?

We've seen a few unfortunate design blunders over the years, but here's one that really hits a bum note. A Chinese streaming service has been forced to apologise for an embarrassing Malaysia Day poster that is, shall we say, rather easily misread.

Supposed to read 'Anak Malaysia' (which translates as 'Child of Malaysia'), the ad was designed to promote local shows available to stream for free during Malaysia Day yesterday. But the phrase was given a stylised typographical treatment to incorporate the crescent and star of the Malaysian flag, resulting in some, er, legibility issues. Perhaps the designers should have played it safe with one of our best free fonts

Anak Malaysia

Oops (Image credit: iQIYI)

That's right, it looks like it says 'Anal Malaysia'. And is if that wasn't enough, it also appears to feature a squatting figure between the two words. Quite how this made it through design meetings, we can't imagine (were there meetings? Did anyone see it other than the designer?), but it has caused quite a rumpus on Twitter.

The streaming service was forced to respond to the backlash, offering a light-hearted apology (below) titled 'Let us explain'. "We saw your reactions on our campaign logo," it reads, "and… we wanted to confirm that it’s ‘Anak Malaysia’ and nothing else!"

While we're pleased to know that the design fail was a mistake, we'd still love to know exactly what the designers were thinking – and how it slipped through the net. We're not sure we'd call iQIY's words a complete explanation – but perhaps we're being anal.

iQIY isn't the first company to pull an unfortunate design fail this year. Just last month, Australian Made's new logo was scrapped for its uncanny resemblance to a certain virus you may have heard of in 2020. Still, not every design blunder deserves to be flushed away – here are 12 design fails that were so bad they were actually good

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