Good design and bad design

Is there something such as bad design or is everything allowed?

Last week I took a course on editorial design. The course was very well prepared and it involved theory, exercises and activities. One of those was a "show and tell" of good and bad design. One of the students said she found really difficult to find good and bad design as rules and fashion kept changing. Her answer made me think and several questions popped in my head: is good design the same as fashion? What's the difference between good and bad design? Is fashion and style the same? What is style? What is good design? These are enough questions for two posts, so two posts will be.

Does bad design exist?
Short answer: yes.
One day I read (or heard, I actually don't remember) that it's rather difficult to determine whether you are a good person or not, as we don't have a one and only known purpose as human beings, so we cannot decipher whether we are good or bad as we can say pretty sure whether a cup of hot chocolate, a lip gloss or even a car is good or bad, or at least good or bad quality (I've noticed nowadays people is afraid to say something is bad, it's more common to hear it's not what I expected, or it didn't work for me, or similar stuff).
The point is, we are able to determine whether it's good or bad design, even if we don't know why. My primary example is a chair. Everybody knows what a chair is and has used one, therefore, knows what it's used for and what to expect from one. There are lots of chairs out there, and I've seated in lots of different chairs through my life, but not all of those were well designed. Let me explain: chairs were designed or copied from a chair that was designed and famous, but the result was not always a good one. There are many beautiful or interesting chairs out there, cheap or expensive, made with the most beautiful materials... But as uncomfortable as just they can be. There are beautiful chairs in expensive restaurants, designed just for them by a wonderful design firm, in which you just cannot sit for the entire meal. That is the best example I could think of a bad design. 

image taken from iconicinteriors.com

Example of good design: Eames Style Plywood LCW Lounge Chair. 

Design inspired by Charles and Ray Eames

Going back to the editorial design course, we could round up what bad design was, not just for a chair or editorial design, but in general, and discovered that the key was the audience.

The audience? Yes, I know it's strange, but not so much if you think about it. I like to call it "the user", but it's the same: who is the design's target. 

image taken from publicrelationssydney.com.au

If you are designing for kids, you cannot take decisions for grown ups, because the measurements, abilities and interests (among other things), are different. If your design is adequate for your target audience, and accomplishes its main purpose, then it might be a good design. If you use the golden number, the finest materials and the final product looks beautiful, but it doesn't appeal the desired audience, or doesn't accomplishes its main purpose, then it's a bad design. 

Oh, and design is not the same as fashion nor as style, but the next post will be about that. 

Hugs and kisses and lots of love from the bottom of my heart.