As it turns out, US dollars are thought to be poorly designed (imagine that!) compared to innovative efforts by Australia and other countries. And it’s not just that our money is somewhat ugly, with its aggressive jumble of fonts and symbols in lackluster green —it’s deeper than that. The podcast made the argument that one reason our money is poorly designed because all the bills are the same size regardless of denomination.
As a result, it’s difficult for our vision-impaired to hold a bill and know how much they’re holding, right? The host of 99% Invisible, Roman Mars, concluded that this isn’t just bad design — it’s immoral.
That might seem a bit harsh, but think about it: for blind people, the design of our money is decidedly and unapologetically exclusionary. If you, as someone with normal vision, is unmoved by this idea, try to imagine how you might feel if tomorrow you woke up without your sight. You might come to resent this instance of bad design.
See, bad design is not limited to that which is garish, cheesy, or outdated. Bad design is not merely about aesthetics. On a functional and foundational level, bad design is that which hinders — or even fails to aid — people who need access to something (information, people, experiences, etc.).
In whatever your professional context, avoid bad design like the plague. Seek and destroy any areas where your organization might be hindering or failing to aid people who need access. You’d never put the doors to your church six feet off the ground, would you? Of course not. That’d be bad design. And in the context of the church’s mission, it’d be downright immoral.
From your website to your social media profiles to your way-finding signage to your announcements, good design is up to you. Anything less is immoral.
Scott McClellan is the Editor of Echo Hub and the Director of Echo Conference. You can follow him on Twitter: @scottmcclellan.