Tuesday June 21, 2005

When 1994 Attacks.

Ah, 1994. OJ’s low-speed police chase makes the Ford Bronco famous. Nancy Kerrigan survives Tanya Harding’s hit squad. Thousands of young men start rocking the “Ross Gellar” haircut. Good times.

Good times? Not entirely. Some things are best left behind. Forever.

I came home last night to an email sent by a former colleague of mine. Sometime last year we had landed a client in the beauty pageant business. It was an exciting opportunity to work up designs that were more classy and more fashionable than our ususal fare. My friend and co-worker, Matthew Esparza, kicked off the project by creating a beautiful Latin-flavored logo and the beginnings of a great client identity. By the time I was brought into the project to work up website comps, we had put ourselves into a very open, creative position. The design I ultimately came up with — while it may not be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen — was certainly classy, dignified, and a credit to the burgeoning pageant’s credibility. The work was significant enough that I’ve had it in my portfolio for some time now.

So when I read that email last night, you will understand why I cringed, laughed and wanted to cry — all at the same time. As designers, we take time to not only make pretty things but understand why a product should look the way it does.

It’s never pretty when 1994 attacks:

This is what the website used to look like, as I designed it:

You will note that one of the main benefits of this design is that it doesn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out with a spork. Nevertheless, someone involved with the pageant decided that classy and professional was kind of overrated and that their cousin’s kid could probably rock out a comparable website instead of an experienced professional.

I’ve experienced the pain of watching a carefully laid-out design be broken and misedited by a third party out of my control. That just comes with the territory, as does this incident. What is most amazing to me is the sheer — well, ugliness — of the work that has replaced my own. It’s not even pride talking, because we all know that no website really lasts forever. Change can be good. I just didn’t think professional organizations actually allowed work like this to represent them. Looks like I was wrong.


Jeremy Boles » 5934 days ago #

Holy Crap.

Zeerus » 5934 days ago #

I feel se bad for you Jared.
I don’t know what I would do if one of my clients ever did a redesign that horrible

Abel Rios » 5934 days ago #

Dude. Don’t EVEN get me started.

Jeff Smith » 5934 days ago #

Wow. That’s all I can say is wow.

M Rodriguez » 5934 days ago #

Apparently they’re based in San Anton, so that says it all right there! Ha ha…

Thanks for the laugh!

sxates » 5934 days ago #

Ouch! One of the worst design backslides I’ve ever seen.

Feaverish » 5934 days ago #

That’s just brutal.

Shawn Grimes » 5934 days ago #

Oh good lord. That is such a shame Jared. I can only imagine all the emotions running through your head when you first saw this. What the hell were they thinking!

Graham Peel » 5934 days ago #

Ouch. Just Ouch.

Todd » 5934 days ago #

I’m so, so, so sorry Jared…

dave » 5934 days ago #

let me see if i understand the story…
you redesigned, built and launched the site, then they redesigned it later?

or did you never build the site?

the timeline is fuzzy…

Jeff Wheeler » 5934 days ago #

It seems 1994 is making a comeback. Just two days ago I found http://mt.org (while looking for a Movable Type shortcut).

Jared Christensen » 5934 days ago #

Dave – I designed the site last year, and in the recent past it got replaced with that abomination.

Graham Bancroft » 5934 days ago #

Jeff, that’s made me feel physically ill.

Jared Christensen » 5934 days ago #

Sweet mercy, Jeff. Nice find! I wonder how many other folks have had their retinas burned out whilst searching for MT?

Matthew Pennell » 5934 days ago #

I quite like it…

chuck » 5934 days ago #

that just proves that it can happen to the best of us … I don’t feel so bad now, knowing the same thing has happened to you.

funny and sad at the same time.

Aaron » 5934 days ago #

This has happened to me before, it hurts, it really hurts.

Chris Kenworthy » 5934 days ago #

Jared, I saw the new site when I had to deal with their threats to sue me because neither of them can speak english well enough to understand that “Your new host didn’t setup the DNS records properly, I no longer have control of your domain, it’s not my fault your site isn’t showing up”. This is after it took 6 months to get them to pay what they owed me for close to a year. Apparently a “credit card” isn’t something anyone at LatinaCrownUSA has, uses, or even understands.

I wanted to personally drive down there and beat the living daylights out of everyone involved in that organization.

We had something similar happen to us when I was at my first web gig, they decided the owners kid could do it better… to this day you still can’t find cars at their site: http://www.donchalmersford.com/

Kyle Jones » 5934 days ago #

Luckily I have no sporks readily available.

Josh Jarmin » 5934 days ago #

I think the first reply sums up up my thoughts nicely.

“Holy Crap.”

Russ » 5934 days ago #

I must say, I think these guys are much more advanced than 1994. They must have pulled this from at least 1995 and did their testing in Netscape 2.0 to get those frames!

But, let’s not overlook the benefits of the new design like the uber-cool wood grain background on those buttons. Your clean design could never compete with that and a tiara background.

Head up man, you’re destined for far better!

Jordan Moore » 5934 days ago #

I’m sorry—it sucks when that happens.

There have been many times where I’ve turned something over to a client (or even another co-worker), and I’ve found a mess later on. So, you’re not alone.

Pieman » 5933 days ago #

daddy, whats a spork?

simon » 5933 days ago #

dear Christ, thats bewildering, I dont know…

Mike S. » 5933 days ago #

Ah, I’ve been down that road before. Really, all that can be done in this sort of situation is to laugh at the decline of the organization/company that opted to degrade their design. That and remove any links to their website with the exception of a scathing “what have you done?” post.

As far as the timeline is concerned, I’d say I was doing the same quality of design and internet wizardry in 1998. Then again, I was a late bloomer :^D

Lisa McMillan » 5933 days ago #

wtf. wTf. Wtf. wtF. WTF!

I hope buddy number two got paid less. Wish I could be there when the person who paid for that realizes they just lost their SEO.

Oh ya, and their brand is in the toilet.

Sorry dude. At least you have the screenshots. Memo to me: always keep a copy and take a screenshot.

Cheers mate!

ps. Spork = fork, spoon lovechild.

Alan » 5933 days ago #

Holy crap, that is hideous.

Melissa » 5932 days ago #

That is pretty crazy. Uck. Brings me back to the WYSIWYG geocities editors I used back when I was 11.

Aaron Christensen » 5932 days ago #

Not being a designer myself, I can still appreciate the sloppy plunge into mediocrity this site has taken. In the words of Homer J Simpson…”SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP!!!”

Steph » 5932 days ago #

Why!? Why would someone do that…? I feel for you…

tff4 » 5932 days ago #

Having recently been swayed towards standards based design, I can understand why people still latch onto non-compliant code, corraling images with tables. The strange thing is that you did get paid to make a perfectly good, modern, compliant design and built the actual site and they took it down.

The bottom line is that crack is whack. Don’t do it kids.

Zeerus » 5932 days ago #


At least you got paid for the project. But, like one of the other posters said, just keep on working, you’ll get better gigs to come.

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