All product designers are bound to make mistakes from time to time, but some product designs take the meaning of “mistake” to a whole new level.

Product Design Error Examples

Check out these four examples of truly cringe-worthy product design blunders.

1. Lava’s new keyboard

Back in 2010 Indian company Lava decided to revolutionize the world of mobile phones with a new keyboard design on their Lava 5B model. Most tech-savvy users are already highly familiar with the current standard keyboard design, but Lava introduced a keyboard that was confusing to users around the globe. Consumers were not pleased with Lava’s new product. The takeaway? Innovation is ideal, but consumers may not enjoy having to re-learn something new.

2. Reliant Motor Company’s three-wheeled vehicle

UK-based Reliant Motor Company was convinced that the three-wheeled Reliant Robin would be a resounding success. The only problem? Vehicles have four wheels for a reason — it helps keeps the vehicle safer and more stable. In this instance, it may not have been the best idea for Reliant to reinvent the wheel, literally.

3. JCPenney’s Hitler tea pot

When JCPenney recruited Michael Graves, one of America’s most influential postmodern architects, to design a new teapot, consumers expected the design to be popular. And it was, but not popular in the way you would have expected. It turns out that the silhouette of Graves’ tea pot bore a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler. Graves insisted he simply couldn’t see the resemblance. “With sales the way they are, this will die down,” he said in regards to the controversy. “And it’s really the sort of way you photograph the teapot, how you can get that image. I test very well for this sort of thing, seeing objects in cubist paintings. And for the life of me, I don’t see it. I just don’t get it.”

4. London’s Walkie-Talkie skyscraper

London’s Walkie-Talkie skyscraper could be one of the best examples of design myopia, or products designed with appearance in mind as opposed to actual functionality. The skyscraper is curved in a manner that makes the building resemble a walkie-talkie, and reflects sunlight in a way that at certain times of the day, the heat generated can actually melt cars located below the building. Luckily, the building has since been outfitted with new special features to address the problem. However, we’re sure the owners of the cars that were melted wish this issue had been resolved before the building was constructed.

Pivot International is a product design, development, and manufacturing firm with strengths in software development, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial design. If you are interested in engineering a new product or updating an existing product, contact us at 1-877-206-5001 or request your free consultation today.