Department of Clip Art

A brief history of the US government’s awful graphic design

June 7, 2013
June 7, 2013

The revelation that major US technology companies are participating in a National Security Administration surveillance program was shocking enough. And that was before we saw the top-secret slides used by the government to describe the spying operation. They are, to put it mildly, heinously ugly…

NSA-slide-1

The slides immediately attracted scorn on Twitter, even inspiring graphics luminary Edward Tufte to weigh in:

The US government, though, is no stranger to bad graphic design. The Department of Defense is a particularly egregious offender, with its hopelessly complex network diagrams

afghanistan-spaghetti-diagram

over-the-top collages

ugly-report-cover

Screen shot 2013-06-06 at 11.00.31 PM

…and tacky flow charts.

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 9.49.30 PM

But the military is hardly the only offender.

From the Department of State:

Department-of-state-bad-design

Department-of-state-bad-design2

The Environmental Protection Agency:

EPA-bad-design

NASA:

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 9.57.46 PM

The US Small Business Administration:

federal-contracting-dollars

From New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (pdf):

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 10.21.29 PM

And, finally, from the Department of Homeland Security, a design that’s not exactly ugly but certainly disorienting:

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 10.05.59 PM

 

Top News

Powered by WordPress.com VIP
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 23,678 other followers