We’ve seen some great design in 2022, from sleek logo redesigns to sharp graphic design and innovative new products. But, like every year, 2022 also brought its share of designs that left us amused, confused, frustrated or all three.
From a game controller that the design team should have got a second opinion on to a logo nobody can read and even some terrible product design from Apple, 2022 has seen its share of design crimes. So as we reach the end of the year, let’s take a moment to sit back and take stock of some of the worst design decisions we've seen over the past 12 months (for design that does make the grade, see our pick of the best logos of all time).
The Kia logo
First up is one of the most questioned logos of 2022. We raised doubts about the new Kia logo when it was revealed last year. But once cars carrying the new badge began hitting the street, it turned out to have just the effect we feared. Everyone’s wondering where this new 'KN' car brand has come from.
To be fair, the Kia logo did need a revamp. The almost childish-looking 3D text of the old previous badge was replaced with a sharp sawtooth design. But sleek design shouldn't be prioritised over legibility if you're aiming for brand recognition. And now there's data to prove it.
Google searches for 'KN cars' have rocketed since last year, hitting around 30,000 a month, presumably from people who think Kia is called KN and want to know more about the brand. We saw a brilliant response from car website The Autopian in the form of an unofficial Kia logo repair part – a metal cross bar that can be placed inside the A in the exterior logo on the car to make it legible.
Sonic Nintendo Switch controller
Second on our list of the worst design fails of 2022 is this Sonic Nintendo Switch controller from Hori. Now, we've seen a fair few shocking video game controllers over the years – the McDonald's PS5 DualSense, anyone? – but Hori's officially licensed Sonic-themed Switch controller is something else.
It's a busy design to say the least: you've got blue and red joysticks, blue buttons, Sonic speeding across from the right, two logos, a bunch of diagonal blue lines. But to top it off, Sonic himself has been put in the worst possible position in relation to the joystick placement, creating a very unfortunate effect. "Hey Sonic, is that an analogue stick or are you happy to see us?" one person tweeted in response. It all makes that Gucci Xbox collab look positively tasteful.
Apple's USB-C adapter for Apple Pencil on the iPad 2022
Now, Apple is normally a brand we can rely on to make smart design decisions across the board. Everything from the Apple logo history to the company's range of phones, tablets, laptops and more speaks of quality design decisions... usually. Every so often it surprises us with something totally inelegant and un-user friendly.
First there was the not so magic Magic Mouse with a charging port underneath it, and then with the release of the new 2022 iPad in October came this eyebrow-raising solution for the lack of Apple Pencil 2 support. The newest iPad still only supports Apple Pencil 1, but Apple's replaced the Lightning charging port with USB-C. The solution? An ugly, dongle-like adapter.
So it only costs $9, and better that than to have to buy a new Pencil if you already have one, but the solution feels like a world away from Apple's usual clean and minimal wireless approach. We're not sure what it is about Apple and charging, but it seems like it's still struggle to get right. There was that unreleased Apple Magic Charger too, and we're still waiting for a USB-C iPhone.
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