The Art Of The Passive-Aggressive Redesign

“Hey, nice website you’ve got there. I made a better version of it, just so you know what that would look like.” The weird history of unsolicited redesigns.

Spec redesigns are the frenemies of the web. They happen when a hungry outsider decides to rework someone else’s site, without worrying about boring stuff like ad space or click rates. It’s awkward, but the result is a look into a world ruled by graphic designers. It’s a terrifying place, with lots of muted colors and Helvetica. Behold!

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Sure, Wikipedia’s cool and all, but it’s got a few too many lines and columns for our taste. Shame you didn’t think of that, Jimmy — but I guess that’s why we’re here.

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5. American Airlines

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This is the gold standard of passive-aggressive redesigns, offering calm measured advice like, “fire your entire design team, if you have one,” and calling out the CEO by name.

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7. The New York Times

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Oh man did people get mad about this one. But to be fair, he did suggest fixing news websites by removing all the ads.

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9. Facebook

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Your group, “Make Facebook Look Like Gmail,” has 37 members.

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11. Google

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Google’s homepage is one of the cleanest major sites out there, but it would still look better if the search bar were lost in a gray ocean of negative space.

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Like green money? Too bad, because now all your bills look like issues of Businessweek.

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15. Amazon

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They didn’t even change anything here. They just made everything softer and added Helvetica. Take that, Bezos.

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17. The Boarding Pass

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This one is banking on a serious upgrade in airport gate printers.

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19. IMDB

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When in doubt, add Transformers.

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