Being a designer can sometimes be a hard gig. Our days are filled with difficult decisions that can agitate our perfectionist minds. You’d think making these types of creative and productive choices should get easier over time, but even though we face these issues most days, making tough designer decisions is, and always will be, a daily occurrence.
The amount of coffee a designer consumes depends on how busy the day pans out to be and how much ‘creative juice’ is needed. Sometimes one skinny latté in the morning is enough, but if there’s a big day ahead, a designer’s engine might need a bit more to keep the creative juices flowing.
To some people, this image might almost seem like a ‘non-issue’. When designers are faced with comparing two similar-looking tones, internally we’re going through an intense dialogue. To an outsider it can look like we’re having a severe mental breakdown over a simple choice between two identical colours. Sometimes even colour blindness is suspected! The thing is, we’re in the business of precision, and this includes choosing between colours with even the slightest change in hue.
Designers love perfection (and our own opinion of perfection), but sometimes you have to put your personal preferences aside and choose a typeface that has a better feel for your client. Typefaces, just like colours, can seem very similar but have completely different finishes and individual characters.
Should someone pay an extra $8.50 for their breakfast cereal just because of visually superior packaging? It’s a popular topic among designers, but the struggle is painfully real. The way I see it, sometimes a bowlful of muesli poured from beautiful packaging just makes for a more inspired morning.
When it comes to sketch books, there are two schools of thought; the designers who yearn for the freedom that only clean sketch books can give, and those who need the neatness and structure offered by the gridded sketch books. I believe that a designer’s choice of sketch book reveals a bit about their personality and the type of work they do.
Text alignment is one of those timeless designer issues that just won’t go away and will be a topic of heated (internal) debate even in the year 3016. This issue makes most of us to hit those Cmd + Shift + L and Cmd + Shift + C key combos back and forth until our fingers cramp so bad that we’re forced to a decision.
Type anatomy is no laughing matter. Picture a time when you’ve spotted what you thought was one of the prettiest catalogues known to mankind; stunning layout, beautiful colours and stock to die for. Then you see it: the ‘a’ that just doesn’t seem to belong. As you flip through the catalogue, the letter follows you around the pages, just staring at you, demanding attention and making you feel iffy. Suddenly the catalogue has lost its charm. And this is why the choices we make in type anatomy are a big deal.
Yesterday’s outfit: a classic, refined and sophisticated look in neutrals, black, grey and white. Today’s outfit: eccentric, unconventional and out there in bold colours. Just like in the work designers create, we also like to play with different styles in our appearance. The tough question we have to ask ourselves every morning is: “Do I want to channel Audrey Hepburn or Elton John today?”
The number of different tools available can sometimes be overwhelming when a designer’s about to dive into a project. Do I use a mouse or Wacom for this project? Desktop or laptop? Fineliner or pencil? Mac or PC (I kid, I kid)? Just be aware that those who are at least a bit versed in the fascinating art of graphic design can often ‘read’ your choice in design tools and guess what you’re working on even without taking a sneaky peek at your screen.
It’s not always easy being a designer, true. But seeing our difficult decisions ultimately pay off in the form of a sleek brand or a pixel perfect website, we know that the occasional over-caffeinated day, common colour blindness speculations and frequent finger cramps are all worth it.