Bad graphic design ads

16 Bad Graphic Design Ads To Learn From

16 Bad Graphic Design Ads To Learn From 1024 602 Nick Saporito

Guess who spent his Sunday afternoon rummaging through Craigslist seeking examples of bad graphic design ads to share and critique?

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In this post I’ll be sharing the 16 best (worst) examples of bad graphic design ads I found. Contact info has been removed from each ad for the sake of their privacy. Using bad design doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does make for a good lesson. Think of this as an exercise in learning what makes bad design bad.

Bad Graphic Design Ads

1.  Emergency Vehicles

Emergency vehicles

I think it’s quite obvious what makes this design bad. It’s just a collage of photos, most of which are distorted for some reason. I’m not even completely sure of what it is they do. Do they sell emergency vehicles? Do they repair them, wash them?

2. Solar Sales

solar sales rep

This one was so close to not being bad. It’s a nice photo and the font used isn’t all that bad either. The problem is the text kind of gets lost against the image. I would’ve added a partially transparent overlay onto the image and scaled down the text so that it isn’t running to the edges. Maybe even use this font for just “We’re Hiring!” and a more traditional scaled down sans serif font for everything else.

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3. Auto Repair

Auto repair

The colors all kind of clash here, especially since different colors are being used for each line of text. There’s no real contrast anywhere in the design — each element is kind of fighting for attention with the other. Also, having to put a border around text to make it visible against a photo is usually a telltale sign of bad design. Not always, but most of the time. I would add a transitioning gradient to white at the bottom and use a single color for all of the text, then use size to determine each text item’s importance.

4. Who’s the Boss?

Be the boss

Bad design aside, this ad demonstrates a lack of self-awareness. If you want to convince people that you’re capable of providing them with vast wealth, you should probably demonstrate that you have money yourself by spending some of it on compelling design.

5. CBD Oil

CBD oil

Complete lack of visual hierarchy here. Nothing really jumps out. It’s just a bunch of bland-looking text that doesn’t catch my attention and I wouldn’t want to read it if it did. And what’s with the motivational poster at the top left?

6. Movers… of DEATH!


Moving company

That’s a pretty ominous look for a moving company. The buttons on the right sort of reminds me of a DVD menu for a horror movie from the early 2000’s. It doesn’t seem very fitting for a moving company. And what’s going on with the cropped prices? What went wrong there?

7. Hover Limos


Why are the cars floating?

8. Daniel


Never use Microsoft Paint to design ads.

9. Garbage Haulers

Garbage haulers

This ad is almost okay. I would crop the truck from the background so that it looks like it’s part of the design, and I’d probably add some check marks on all of those boxes. As it stands they look empty, as if to say “we don’t provide any of these services.”

10. Credit Repair

Credit repair

There’s too many clashing colors and too many different things fighting for attention here. When you try to make everything pop, nothing pops.

11. Movers… I think?


Sometimes bad graphic design ads create more questions than they answer. I had to really think about this one to figure out what it is they do and why they had all those other company logos on it. And why are the credit card logos distorted?

12. Junk Cars

Junk cars

The choice of colors makes it a little difficult to read, and that hand photo looks like it was cropped with a plastic butter knife in the dark.

13. Blinding Glare

Text not legible

I feel like I need to put sunglasses on in order to read this.

14. Up In Flames

DJ design

I think they tried making the letters look like they’re on fire or something. Sometimes you can get too carried away for your own good when it comes to creativity.

15. Something Yard-RelatedLandscaping

I’m not even sure what service is being advertised here. All I see is amateur photos of yards, and too many of them.

16. Holy…

Bleeding cowboys terrible font

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this one. There isn’t a single aspect of this design that isn’t bad, and to top it off they used the dreadful Bleeding Cowboys font. Never use Bleeding Cowboys outside of an ironic context.

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Nick Saporito

Nick Saporito is a Philadelphia-based graphic designer who specializes in branding-specific design. A full portfolio and information regarding services offered can be found at

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