What Kind of Designer are you, Successful or Unsuccessful?
Junior Designer | New Designer Generation
January 3, 2019
At the end of every year designer’s receive their diploma/degree, basically giving them their license to go out there and find that dream job. Some of you reading this right now may have been successful in getting a job and some not so fortunate. So if you feel you are truly a great designer and cant understand why you didn’t get it or they aren’t getting back to you, this article will provide you with a few reasons why.

What Design Persona are You?

The Coffee Maker

A few designers that start out, automatically fall into being the coffee maker. Although this isn’t the worst position to start in; trust me there’s way worse options, what they need to ask themselves is, who put me here making coffee? Their superiors or them… As Senior Designers we can see a Coffee Maker from a block away, and it’s best to stay away.

Coffee Maker designers don’t have any confidence in their own designs or the ability to summon courage when designs request more from them than they have dealt with in the past. Most times Coffee Makers are timid designers who after some time become quite annoying and irritating when they seem to want to do absolutely everything for their superiors, as if being great at the job, isn’t the only thing they believe the job requires of them.

List of traits The Coffee Maker has:

  • Silent (hardly ever talks)
  • When spoken to, usually asks to here that again in a timid silent voice…
  • Asks every persons opinion on their designs, in-order to feel better about it, instead of owning it.
  • Spends +/- 3-hrs a day around the coffee machine.
  • Apologizes for things that aren’t their fault.

However Coffee Makers can rise up in the ranks, dependent on how bad the Coffee Maker syndrome has set in. And if this is any of you reading this, this is the time to see what’s wrong here and acknowledge that you’re only doing this to yourselves.

My advise would be to firstly take ownership of the work, find pride in working on great projects and the job they’ve been hired to do. Rather get their superiors to find value in them through their work and understanding of the direction they give them and not all the other things they do for them. The Coffee maker’s can continue to make coffee (I wont destroy the dream) but focus on work and allow their superiors to like them because of their design and work ethic, not their barista skills.

The Yes Man

Some designers believe that they need to have it all from the very beginning and in this notion they will literally say yes to absolutely anything you ask them if they can do, either in the interview or once they already got the job. The reason this is so annoying is because the task either never gets done because of all their promises or the task gets done horribly. We often ask in interviews if they know how to do N.S.T. adverts (N.S.T. = No such thing), most times the answer is ‘yes I can do that as well’ and then from us the answer is a resounding NO.

So bottom-line never promise too much, always be learning. Most businesses don’t have any issue with a persons willingness to learn but this means you need to be upfront about needing the education oppose to ‘knowing it all’ already.

List of traits The Yes Man has:

  • Always talking about things to do on the weekend.
  • Listens extremely well yet makes no notes.
  • Often tries to handle the design process all on their own and eventually gets burnt out.
  • Spends too much time on 1 task.
  • Always satisfied with the first revision of designs.

However Yes Man’s can rise up very fast in being an asset, if they just take the opportunity to be transparent. By transparent I mean, say if you cant do something. Often businesses like to hire juniors that need a bit of TLC in order to mold them into what the company needs in future. 

My advise would be to change the way you answer questions you don’t know much about from ‘Yes I can’ to ‘No, but I’ll figure it out’. Agencies are willing to provide you with the skills they need if you don’t already have them, which ultimately turns you into a more versatile designer.

The Arrogant A-Hole

Many designers approaching the agencies today have the tendency of believing far to much in their work. Don’t get me wrong you need to believe in your own work, but when a more experienced designer gives you direction, please take the criticism as constructive and not an attack. Most times when we see the traits of the arrogant a-hole we usually move on quite fast as the amount of effort an agency needs to put in to getting this resource to an asset is far too time consuming and in our previous efforts we have found that they resign before the process can truly begin to help them.

The Arrogant A-Hole is a very difficult person to work with, they also seem to take early lunch breaks and leave to go home early as well.

 List of traits The Arrogant A-Hole has:

  • Asks a few questions and then get’s on with it (good and bad)
  • Usually butts heads with other members of the team.
  • Cant stop speaking about themselves and what they’re going to do.
  • Designs what THEY want, opposed to understanding what the client NEEDS.
  • Unable to take direction from a Creative Director.

However Arrogant A-Hole’s most times also turn into some of the best designers but I’ve only seen this happen once they eventually get over themselves and are able to take direction, once that’s happened they are a force in the team that once going its best to let them do what they do.

My advise would be to fake it until you make it. Even if you are truly angry about what the Creative Director said about your design direction try to internalize it and remain humble, after all there’s a large chance the director above you was once like you and they have the ability to understand you or cut you, that’s up to them. 

In Conclusion

All designers have a HUGE amount of individuality which causes them to look at their design as if it in-fact encompasses a piece of their heart. Junior’s and some Mid’s behave this way for the first 3 years, but it’s important that you get over it fast. At the end of the day its the one thing holding you back from true greatness.

Start to look at yourself as a ‘helper’, it is your sole job to understand your target audience (which changes per job) and give them what you believe will help them the most. Usually Creative Directors deal with all of this but in small teams this is left to the designer. As a junior this may be daunting and cause you to want to rethink your reasons for becoming a designer… But don’t!

Everything good takes time, if it didnt what would your skills in the future really mean if they took you a few hours to get? For now, give it the time it needs to grow into an amazing career and try your best to just suck it up.


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