The Image GroupThe Image Group

By Adam Norman

Generally speaking, graphic designers tend to possess a certain amount of artistic temperament – an anguished intensity inherent in many creative geniuses. In other words, they’re largely an irritable lot and it doesn’t take much to set them off. That said, here are ten things you can do to get on their bad side.

  1. Supply “vector artwork” that isn’t really vector artwork. When you ask designers to incorporate existing art into new graphics, they will probably ask that you provide a vector version of the art. Simply put, vector is an artwork format that allows designers to resize illustrations without affecting image quality. If you don’t know if the art you have is vector (helpful tip: MS Word documents are not vector), just say so. You might pay more for your design, but you’ll know up front if that’s the case.
  1. Request endless, senseless revisions. “This looks great in our corporate colors, which is exactly what I requested. But now I wonder what it would look like in grayscale. Oh, and can you use a friendlier font? And just make the whole thing a sixteenth of an inch smaller?” Look, creativity involves a lot of trial and error. Designers get that. But your perfectionist tendencies should not generate infinite work for us.
  1. Decide, after countless revisions, that our original design is your favorite after all. Hey, it’s your money. And by that we mean we’re charging for each revision whether you used it or not.
  1. Provide contradicting directions. “We want the design to really pop, without drawing too much attention.” Clean but without any white space. Modern with a retro look. Can you do that? Maybe, but maybe not.
  1. Ask us to “match the font” you saw somewhere. The website offers over 28,000 downloadable fonts, which means the odds of us finding your exact font are at least one in 28,000. Fonts, it turns out, are a critical component of the overall design ­– which is what you hired us to create. Let us surprise you.
  1. Be Adobe. Most designers have a love-hate relationship with Adobe. Clearly, its tools have long been designers’ preferred choices for transforming their creative ideas into usable content. But the company seems intent on turning current customers into former ones with such bonehead moves as its Creative Cloud all-or-nothing pricing model. With the list of alternative platforms growing daily, Adobe should be courting clients – not alienating them.
  1. We’re skipping #4, because we feel duty-bound to repeat #10. We just can’t stress that one enough.
  1. Share criticism from your family and friends with us. So your brother-in-law took a Photoshop class in high school and has some ideas on how to improve our work? No problem. Everybody’s a critic. Just remember that you hired us for our professional knowledge. What’s really important is that our designs work (i.e., generate sales, create top-of-mind awareness) the ways you want them to. Amateur opinions should be treated as such.
  1. Create physical harm with your color scheme. Some colors contrast so fiercely that using them together literally hurts your eyes. Here’s another area where you should rely on your designer’s professional expertise, lest you inadvertently inflict visual pain.
  1. Suggest we work for “exposure” rather than money. We appreciate that being associated with your brand will boost our careers to unforeseen heights, but right now we have rent to pay. So we’ll take cash, thank you. And if you’re lucky, when we’re in famously high demand, we’ll consider making time to work for you again.
Top 10 Ways To Tick Off A Graphic Designer