Confessions of a Designer – Quotes from the world of design

In design, as in any domain, there are certain preconceptions about what designers think and do. This project is a collection of quotes that I have either found myself thinking or that I have heard my designer friends say, often on more than one occasion.

Personally, I would say that the biggest preconceived idea is that a project will take however long it takes to sketch it up, whereas nine times out of ten, it is the concept and not the implementation that takes time. Hence ‘just come up with a few quick logos’ being a total oxymoron. 

Let me know what you think. If you’re a creative, what do people say to you and if you are not a designer, what do you think of designers and their day jobs?

Update : You can now buy these prints over on Society6.

Anneke Short

Anneke Short is the co-founder and creative director of AMS Design Studio. Originally from the UK, trained in Switzerland and now living in London.


    • I thought that one would be the most controversial, and ironically probably the one I hear most :-)
      I work on Mac myself, but I’m not a big advocate of one over the other.

    • That’s the attitude Anneke. Making people to discuss! Anyway, I’m a PC designer, but I don’t cry or feel sick when I’m working on a Mac ;) where I only feel a little “hollow” :P

    • Thanks Surien! I’m really happy that people have taken the time to discuss this project, whether to agree or to disagree with me :-)

    • Uh, Macs RULE! Been designing on them for 30 years. PCs are too slow and lack finesse! Quark sucks! InDesign is the bomb! I actually design on both, so I know what I am talking about.


  1. “Give it more ‘pop’ is not a helpful piece of feedback”

    “No I don’t think ‘bevel/emboss tool’ would make it ‘more modern and 3d'”

    • I also love “do you think it would look better if . . . ” No. If I thought that, I would have done it the first time.

    • YES!! “I Like it, but could you just change 20 small things that pretty much add up to the whole?”

  2. “If you think it’s that simple, then do it yourself.” Pure gold.

    When I was working on an internal corporate creative team, I had a client say to me w/a tone of extreme surprise: “Oh, you went to school for this?”

    Related to being sent photos, graphics, etc. via email, another one would be “Just because you can see it on your monitor does not mean it will print well.”

    Good stuff.

  3. The classic conundrum is the designer trying to design up to people and marketing insisting they’re too stupid to get it. If you think people are stupid, you probably are.

    Hating on Comic Sans is such a stale emotion. Isn’t it time to find something better to do?

    • Hi anonymous, are you so ashamed of using Comic Sans that you don’t want to reveal your identity…. I understand lol all the best

    • Sure, Comic Sans gets thrown under the bus a lot, but for good reason. If you’d like a new emotion try hating on Zapfino and Papyrus. Sure works for me.

  4. These are great. I will add, “Why will it take you that long? I just threw this together.” (Uhm yes, and it shows.) ANOTHER fave… “All you have to do is…”

  5. Except for the PC vs MAC one (which I have heard a lot too, but don’t agree with), every other one is absolutely spot on!

    How about: “I love it! There’s just a couple of things I need you to change”
    I get chills whenever I hear that.

    • HA! “just a couple of things”. That always comes to me at 10pm right when I’m ready to shut the computer off and watch some tv with my wife on a friday night. All I hear is “you didn’t have anything IMPORTANT to do this weekend right?”

      Anneke, my favorite is “Just because you think you can use photoshop…”
      Least favorite is “Macs are better than PC’s” that WAS 100% true before CS1, after CS1 we can all hold hands and stop the hate. :)

  6. I am a textile designer. I am ALL THE TIME asked to come up with a “version” of someone else’s fabric! We are paid (not as much as we are worth) to be original! Nice to know that these mindsets from our customers and superiors run across disciplines!

  7. I constantly get “Can you work on a quick and dirty project for me today? It shouldn’t take you more than half an hour”…right because it will take at least 30 min for you to explain me the project

    LOVE the “if you think it’s so simple, do it yourself:!!

  8. lol:-)
    I have another one from my experience as user interface designer: “It needs to have a clean design and an intuitive interface and by the way you just have to add these [list of 50 items at least!] features/functions…”

  9. Superb! So glad (and quite relieved!) to find I’m not the only one who’s thinking these things, sitting here seething quietly!!!

  10. what I HATE MOST is people asking for ‘high res’ images
    when (1) they dont realise what ‘res’ means
    (2) they dont specify if its for web or print
    (3) they think that they can take a photo on a camera phone and somehow this should be perfect and billboard quality (4) someone sending me a photo of a product from a side angle and asking me to make it so that it can be seen from the front!!! (happens ALL the time)

    LOVE your posters – makes me feel less crazy!!! x

  11. the best I ever heard:

    a logo is not so “big” as a homepage, so please explain me why is it more expensive than a homepage…

  12. I run an in-house art department and we I often hear “I need ______ done right away. It doesn’t have to look good as long as all the information is there” REALLY!! My job is to make sure the company is presented well. The last thing I’m going to do is turn out a piece of garbage because you didn’t give me any lead time

  13. It’s nice to know that I am not the only one in the world who really deals with all this stuff. (even though it feels like it sometimes) How about… Client: ” You created that logo in like, 5 minutes. And you charge how much?” Me “Actually it was 20 years and 5 minutes. Here’s the invoice.”

  14. How many time have I heard that? I have had a very large client ask me what what kind of logo can I give him for $150 for a global product launch……

  15. I get the “Just make it pretty” all the time…
    ‘Make it “pretty” should only be used when suggesting a 5 year old stay in the lines of her coloring book.’

  16. One of the downsides of working in a corporate environment is my ‘clients’ (ie, other departments) don’t actually get charged for the work I do, so a regular phrase I hear it:

    “That’s looks really great, but could we just see a couple of other options.”

    Usually completely overlooking the fact that I”ve already gone through two or three getting to the solution I’m presenting them…

  17. Dear Anneke

    not every designer in the world can afford to work on MAC

    Full Stop

    MAC users are NOT superior beings than the rest of the mortal souls on this planet.

    Full Stop

    • Dear Anonymous,

      I understand that, I never claimed that I personally work on a Mac or that I believe them to be superior in any way, shape or form. If you had read the post then you would understand that these are also quotes that I hear not just that I think. Full Stop.

    • Having a mac doesnt make you a designer, it makes you a mac owner, also applys for cameras, “having a canon camera doesnt make you a photographer it makes you a canon owner”. Full Stop
      “Buying a Canon doesn’t make you a photographer. It makes you a Canon owner.” ~Author Unknown

    • Macs aren’t superior to PC’s and I’m a designer too. Who ever said that is a bitch. Full stop.

  18. Seriously LOVE these posters! I want to pin ALL of them up in my office at work! Thank you for saying what we’re all screaming in our heads.

  19. I like most of them… although, you should know the value of Comic Sans, if you are a designer… it does look good if the context is right.

    • Yup, I’m not ashamed to say I’ve used it. Few quick comic-like photo editing, funny invites etc. for these little things, it’s quick, easy and accessible because it’s everywhere.

      PS not a coward for posting anonymous, just lazy to sign in..

  20. “This looks good but can you make the color brighter”

    after showing neon bright colors.

  21. Great stuff Anneke, here’s some more . . .

    Powerpoint is a weapon of crass construction

    Microsoft Word is just another name for self harm

    Yes you can have a free sample – if I can have one too

    Your accountant just makes marks on paper but you don’t query his bills

    My son can draw too – so you want a stick man for a logo?

    I can assure you sir that ‘take your head out of your ass’ is a purely technical term

  22. During my tenure as an inhouse creative for a company whose specialty (ie: the one thing that gave the company the edge over their competitors) was supplying customised publication and giftware with original design, I was presumptuous enough to think the design staff needed as much administrative support as the sales, print and production departments and would often submit requests accordingly.

    The usual reply that prefaced each declined request was “Well we’re not a design company, are we?”.

  23. Brilliant collection! I must share this with our network of freelance designers – who have no doubt shared your sentiments on many of these more than once!

  24. I love these. so true, I’ve come across all these scenarios myself. I would love to feature some of your posters on my blog. Please let me know if you would be ok with that.

  25. Anneke, as a creative pro going into his twenty-*cough cough*-th year in the business, I’m sorry to say the preconceptions never go away, and were the same ones when I started as they are now. I’ve linked this post on my blog ( as support to a recent article. Best wishes.

  26. Soooo true!!! I could add mine but I have to say that I can’t express in english the exact tone that the sentences have in spanish, my language, but the ideas are the same!
    Great idea! Best wishes.

  27. Just love these, going to post them on my business facebook page and get one printed for my studio at home!

    My fav is “I love it, but could you just change the colour and design?”

    The joys of being a designer!

  28. ‘can you make the font bigger, but don’t change the size or style’…
    I got this from an editor, what the heck was she thinking?

  29. @john at least its not Papyrus lol

    @Tonio Freitag
    agree! I think it doesn’t matter what you use. Having a Mac doesn’t make an artist a better designer. As a freelance designer I’ve run the gamut of clients who know their stuff and those who don’t. what i’ve leaned is that i ought to take the time to explain the processes and reasons behind the work. Cheers mate, Neil @

  30. oh you are going to charge me “x” amount (whatever the x, it’s always too much) for something that took you a few minutes to sketch up?!? Well… actually it didn’t take me a few minutes to sketch it up, it took me over 15 years of experience in design to get to the point where I can sketch something up in two minutes. So you aren’t paying just for my time, you are paying for my experience and expertise in a field you evidently have no clue about!

Leave a Reply to mattrobb Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *