You Can’t be a Graphic Designer if You Have These Signs


Russian pole vault sensation and world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva wanted to become a gymnast all her childhood. But she was too tall for being a female gymnast; she read the sign and changed her field, a field that suited her.
She stated in an interview that discarding the childhood dream was a tough thing to do but it was the best decision of her life.

Just like that, there are signs in every profession which make realize whether you are made for it or not.
Since we are designers, we take a look at the signs that can help us evaluate ourselves in our profession.

This is a small list focused for made for graphic designers. If you are a another kind of designer, a web designer perhaps, then this list shouldn’t apply on you.

Another point: there is no scientific method involved in this post. This is just my observation from 7 years of teaching experience that if a student has five or more signs, he/she is very unlikely to progress in this field.

reverse gun

“There’s a difference between being creative and being stupid.”

1. You can’t remember what RGB and CMYK stand for. This shows lack of interest.

2. You use Internet Explorer to test your web designs. You need to be more tech savvy.

3. You don’t know any alternative to Photoshop. There is more to designing than just Photoshop.

4. You always have your Facebook opened. Again, lack of interest. You would rather be doing something else.

5. You want become a programmer. Programming is good, but a person is highly unlikely to be a good designer and a good programmer simultaneously. Make a choice!

6. You bought a Mac to look kool. Yes, “coolness” is all about success. Buy the things that bring success, not fame.

7. You are not interested in photography. If you don’t like photography, you just might not have the temperament for a graphic designer. That is because photography teaches a lot about patterns, colors, composition and most of all, design.

8. Your desktop doesn’t contain a clutter of icons. I’m not sure what this has to do with designing, but I’ve never seen one good designer who has a very neat and clean desktop.

10. You keep checking the latest scores of the match while working. Well, that’s something even I’m doing right now, it’s the world cup final! There can be exceptions for major games, but it shouldn’t always be the scenario.

11. You have no intention of being able to draw with pencil. Being able to draw it on the paper is again, one of the basics of designing.

12. You don’t frequently study Oh Yeah, you need to do that.

13. You don’t know who Paul Rand is. Another sign for lack of interest in the field.

14. You yawn a lot. Your mind is telling you to do something else.

15. You are not a designer if you are on this page and trying to figure out whether you are a designer or not…

Wrong Mindset

Designing is a brain job

You design what you like: let me tell you an incident of my student. He worked at local academy, they had a senior designer and they hired him as junior designer. The senior designer didn’t like to use gradients, but manager loved them. The my student got promoted for the very reason that his designs were full of gradients. The senior designer couldn’t believe it!
Actually the senior designer was right, gradients are not in trend now but the boss didn’t care. You need to work according to client’s demands, not according to your own likings.

You hate talking to clients: IT professional don’t like communicating with clients because they technologically not as educated as us, nor are they updated with the trends… but we have to absorb the client’s mentality, otherwise we can never create satisfying results.

You don’t have peace-of-mind: designing needs creativity and you can’t have it until you are loved by your friends and family. Your friends are likely to be from the same profession but family is not. You have to be Non-Geek for them. Help them out in routine day-to-day stuff and socialize in their manners. Spread love and be loved, creativity will come naturally.

You don’t care much about the office environment: whether you work from home or you have an office, it is vital that you keep yourself and colleagues motivated. Make work feel less like work…

You never exactly have a what, why and how: when you start your work, you don’t have an action-plan. You should have clear objectives. You should know the target audience, client preferences, your limitations and deadline.


Gun Image

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  1. saqib ahmad June 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    LoL I Like in which you described about your website! 😀

    1. Tayyab June 10, 2013 at 8:39 am

      He he, 😉
      Thanks Saqib

  2. Anjum June 8, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I love the way u described such signs which are the best

    1. Tayyab June 10, 2013 at 8:40 am

      Thanks for the appreciation Anjum 🙂

  3. Manning June 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I did my diploma in graphic art and I now work writing software (and i love it) Yes I fail some of your tests. Good article.

    1. Tayyab June 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Hi Manning,

      “Some” is not a problem, unless you have at least 5-6 signs, its alright, there’s nothing to be disappointed.
      I’ve only met one person so far who doesn’t has even a single sign, that’s our Chief Designer Waseem who writes photoshop tutorials on Designzzz. And he is thinking of becoming a full-time photographer. 😛

      Don’t worry about a few signs. All the best for a successful career 🙂

  4. Cyan Tarek June 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Super article, I luv 3D from 14. But gradually I was starting to like Music Production. I Love both, But I love 3D graphics more than music production. What should I do? Do I need to drive myself into one path? If so, then I have to leave music Production. Cause I love 3D very much. Please suggest me

    1. Tayyab June 20, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Hi Cyan,

      Well, such a crossroad in life is not uncommon. My suggestion would be to choose the profession that doesn’t bore you. Or even, that ‘enjoy’ most.
      Which of the two interests makes you forget your favorite TV programs? Which of the two you like most to learn about?? Which of the two do you like to discuss most???

      In my early teens, I was also very good in the field of computer networking. It brought me loads of success appreciation. But by the time I was 19, I realized that working with routers and switches is something I don’t enjoy…. I do it very well but I don’t enjoy that.
      So you should also double check that why do you like 3D, is it because you really ‘love’ it or because you do it well?

      By the way, thanks for idea, I’ll write an article on this topic about determining your profession in a couple of weeks.

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