Awesome Dribbble Designs That Got Rejected By Clients

Websites, logos, user interface components and icons can — and often do — get rejected by clients and bosses for various reasons. But that doesn’t mean they’re not great designs.

In fact, I’d like to show my appreciation of some excellent designs on Dribbble (a community site for designers to show their work) that didn’t make the cut for reasons like "it doesn’t fit in our design" or "it’s not what we are looking for."

By the way, if you’re interested in seeing more rejected designs, check out Dribbble’s #rejected keyword tag.

The Rejected Designs

Graphic designer Ross A. Whelan made the awesome badge logo concept for a food TV show and says that he was "a little heartbroken" when he found out that it was rejected.

The piece features great typography, creative use of a fork and knife referencing the nature of the show and has a nice vintage look.

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The beautiful letterpress-style icons below by Joshua Taylor — who’s a web designer at the popular web app Evernote — shows that even accomplished designers can have their work rejected.

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"This might have been the first time I overshot the clients expectations" says Kyle McConnell referring to his home page redesign mockup for

The design was "too different" from the site’s current layout. Which is usually the point of a redesign. Oh well.

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Joshua Keay of the New-York-based product development studio Magnetism (they make iPhone apps, t-shirt designs and more) made the design below for the GORUCO conference.

The client chose to go with something obvious and easy (i.e. their logo slapped onto a t-shirt) instead of this creative piece.

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Kyle Ruane created this very clever logo for a company called It features both elements of the company’s name: a semester (the book) and the number one.

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This hummingbird logo by logo designer Jord Riekwel was for a WordPress themes company. Despite many other designers commenting positively about the design’s great curves, and with some of them even asking if he’s willing to sell the design, it didn’t meet the client’s fancy.

Riekwel explains that he’s very proud of this logo and that he hopes to use it in a future project.

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Portland-based designer Chip Treux made this logo for a coffee consulting company. The logo creatively uses the "O" in the company’s name to represent an espresso portafilter (alluding to the nature of their business) as noticed by Josh Holloran, another member of Dribbble.

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This interesting slider interface made by iOS designer Stéphane Reverdy was rejected by a client (he didn’t say why).

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This skeuomorphic flip counter is by web and graphic designer Kassie Wright. She says that "the project went in a different direction."

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The rejected navigation menu interface, made primarily for the iPad, is by designer Judson Collie.

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Share some of your "rejected-but-still-awesome" designs by linking to them in the comments below.

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About the Author

Martijn Oud is a marketing professional from the Netherlands working for, an online store selling printing supplies. He has a passion for great design and UX. If you’d like to get in contact, visit his personal website.

This was published on Oct 5, 2012


Shane Oct 05 2012

Yes, on their own these look fantastic but at the end of the day it’s about satisfying the clients needs. Also these designs are standing alone so how to we know if these designs compliment or work with the design as a whole. For example, the slider interface above looks great but what type of interface is this designed for and what was the overall theme. This is the problem with Dribbble, it takes the elements out of context so they’re just an uploaded PSD creation that looks ‘awesome’.

Martijn Oud Oct 08 2012

@Shane: Thanks for your comment! I agree with you but, to me, that’s also the beauty of Dribbble. A way for designers to show a little bit of their work and something that they’re proud of without interference of other parts of the designs.

Of course a lot of the above designs could have been rejected by “legit” reasons but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful.

I’m actually hoping some of the designers see this and comment on the “why” of the rejection. I think it could be something we can all learn from.

Andy Creode Oct 08 2012

Although beautiful, clean and sharp, I think the humming bird logo is perhaps a bit too close to the twitter logo. I think any company that used it, especially in those colours would have to contend with that viewpoint.
Lots of really cool stuff there though. Some clients just don’t have the same forward-thinkingness as designers. Love the GORUCO one too, that could’ve had a little bit of a viral spark within the ruby community.

Some nice designs here and must be heartbreaking to spend so much time working on a logo only to have it rejected!!!

Bad news but great article

Casey Dennison Oct 08 2012

These are some fantastic looking designs. I guess to can’t satisfy everyone.

wired Oct 08 2012

I agree the designs are great and very creative… but still its up to the client’s needs and taste.. love the humming bird simple and clean

PixelCrayons Oct 10 2012

Being a web development company, we understand how it feels when your hard work gets rejected just because your client doesn’t like it.

On the other note, I would like to congratulate the designers who made these designs, these are really awesome :)

Afraz Oct 10 2012

Hey, Nice collection. Please include mine

While it’s a great piece on its own, I can see why the Daily Special one got rejected. For a TV show about food, I would think you’d want a good deal of color and less distress. Black distressed isn’t exactly appetizing when you’re trying to sell a viewer on the benefits of red peppers, for example.

I love Bellissimo and the portafilter! Awesome!

I would agree with Shane above. Some of these are cool, but others like the flip counter… who cares? I’ve seen dozens of flip counters just like this around the web. Most are used to count down to a website launch or something.
And the hummingbird is nice, but if there is no text saying the name of the company, then what good is the logo? Same thing with 1semester. Was the text supposed to be included? If not, I am not going to get 1 semester out of that icon, I am going to get Book 1.
The Daily Special is too grungy, as someone else mentioned. Also, when you shrink that down to a usable size, the thin line elements on the bottom are going to get lost.
And, Afraz, that booking overview is making me cringe. Sorry. I can’t stand the faux leather look. Apple has made me hate it forever!!!!

Robin Jennings Oct 13 2012

Great designs all of them. I especially like Chip Treux Bellisimo logo. How has no one used a design like that before?

Brianna Deleasa Oct 14 2012

Great collection of rejected designs! It still blows my mind when clients reject designs. I understand everyone has their own personal taste, and that’s perfectly fine. What irritates me is when they choose designs that are clearly worse. Oh well! If they want their website to not look it’s best, it’s their choice.

artfreak Oct 15 2012

Kyle Raune is the most unlucky one here. I mean that logo is amazing! How can you reject that!

Nice ideas but I feel like we’re digging through a dumpster.

William Lettieri Oct 18 2012

I really like these as well, but I do agree with the thread that these have to be taken in the context of the project. Definitely some really cool ideas to possibly go in different directions here, though.

I don’t oven use Dribbble, but the concept of their site is very intriguing and addictive almost, allowing for cool stuff like this to be showcased somewhere and not immediately destroyed or shelved. I can see why people get into it.

Cool post, thanks!

I agree with Shane, These designs looks awesome but why they got rejected is the main thing but at end nice idea of the post.. Cheers

Inspiration Oct 19 2012

Hey, Nice collection i like it :)

Web Alley Oct 22 2012

Dribbble like always, amazing works. Nice post, Thanks!

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