Take a Look at The Design of The Miss Universe Card

By now, the entire world is aware of Steve Harvey’s blunder while announcing the winner of this year’s Miss Universe competition. His error of announcing Miss Colombia as the winner in place of Miss Philippines has become the subject of many jokes on the internet.

For the record, this is what happened:

The design community is involved in a similar debate about this issue, but on a different level: was it really Harvey’s mistake, or was the design of the winners’ name card at fault?

This is what the card looked like:


Many in the design community feel the card’s design lacked proper UX input, and it should have been better. Quoting Eric Thomas on LinkedIn:

There isn’t any logical order to this. Sizing, placement, and organizing is all over the place. Why is “Miss Universe” all the way to the right, but “Philippines” is centered below it? The actual winner, compositionally speaking, was essentially just cast off to the side. It looks like a footnote.

Similarly, writes Josiah Tullis:

It is immediately obvious that this card is poorly designed. In fact, upon first glance I would’ve likely made the same mistake that Steve did. Even if we ignore the poorly written copy– calling second place “1st Runner Up” feels like saying “first place loser”– the visual design leads a viewer to believes that Colombia is the winner.

However, there is another side of the debate as well, and David Kadavy argues that the design was fine enough:

If you look again at the card design, you can see that, conceptually, the design makes sense. The two contestants who you, the emcee, should announce are right where you would look first: the top-left.

The one who remains is in a totally different column, separated by a dividing line. By process of elimination, you will announce that one.

Conceptually, it makes sense. Visually, it’s imperfect. It would have been better to just have them in a list.

Of course, the card’s design was far from perfect, but was it really that bad? The design community does agree that it was functional in terms of design, but definitely not user-friendly.

What do you think of this debate? Was the winners’ name card poorly designed? Share your views in the comments below!

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