I read Saabira Chaudri's question of the day "Can good design save a bad product?", and immediately thoughts of James Dyson's hideous futuristic vaccume cleaners came to plague me http://www.dyson.com/store/. An example of a bad visual design turning a good, practical product into a robotic monstrocity.
I would not have written about this, but as fate would have it, in a random google search for something totally unrelated today I hit upon the rideable vaccume cleaner: http://www.yankodesign.com/index.php/2007/06/18/rideable-vacuum-cleaner-by-kristina-andersson/ a product by Kristina Andersson, ingenius in that it opens the doors for stay-at-home moms or dads can now justify putting their little ones to work by riding this child-friendly vaccume cleaner and cleaning the floor. Where is the electrical cord and are there really no moving parts that kids can get their fingers caught in are big technicalities, but the idea is that innovative design can give new life to mundane objects. And bad design, well, the Dyson DC 19 Dyson Slim just makes me want to vacuume less than I already do.