10 Things You Should Never Say To A Designer

Graphic design is hard work. Here are 10 statements to avoid when talking with a designer:

  1. This won’t take long.
  2. Give it a “wow-factor”
  3. Have you seen that Papyrus font? Let’s use that.
  4. Here’s a low-res picture I found on Google Images. Can you blow it up and put it on a banner?
  5. Make it pop.
  6. What this needs is drop shadows. Way more drop shadows.
  7. Just go make it creative.
  8. I don’t need the brochures until our event in two weeks. But the printer needs them tomorrow. So…
  9. There’s too much white space. Let’s add something.
  10. How’d you design that? Do you use Microsoft Publisher?

Got something to add to the list? Share it in the comments below:

  • curtishoneycutt


  • scparris

    How about…

    “I don’t have a huge budget for this, but it will be good exposure for you.”


    I send an email with progress.
    They respond immediately.
    I send another email with progress.
    They respond immediately.
    I send a final design.
    They say thanks immediately.
    I send an invoice.

    • I think every freelancer has experienced the “Post-Invoice silence” at some point.

  • Drew

    “It’s not bad, it’s just not how I was picturing it, you know what I mean?” [Says nothing about what their vision]

    • That’s a tough one to avoid as an art director, but definitely one to avoid. Just like Chuck said, that dangerous phrase of “I’ll know it when I see it” could be one of the most frustrating for a designer to hear.

  • Chuck Scoggins 

    “I’m not sure what I want…but I’ll know it when I see it!”

  • Chuck Scoggins 

    “I don’t work well with a blank canvas…can you create something up for me then I’ll just tweak it.”

  • Andrew Fenlason

    This ones similar # 4. That design will look great on the screens. Now can you convert it into a shirt design. The guy at the print shop said he needs an ai or eps file. Whatever those are. Then followed by #8

  • Brian Ayers

    Hilarious! During years of freelance work, I heard most of these at least once.

  • Jeffrey Morris

    “Make it edgy…”

    • Oh that one’s a classic. Clearly “edgy” means let’s find a grungy font, right?

  • Damaris Fike

    I would like these four pages of content to fit onto a 3×5 handout?…lol

  • rowanwins

    “I found this and I’d really like to use it.” – where ‘this’ usually refers to some clipart or equally bad graphic

  • Caleb Warren

    This was one of my favorites I’ve ever been asked:
    “Can you try a different color scheme? How about electric blue, white and florescent coral?”

  • Chris Parker

    “I know you’re busy, but you’re so creative…we need something based on verse…” then add #2 and #8. 😀

  • “Can we make the logo bigger?”…. “No bigger still”. Other major changes & 10 revisions later… “Can we go back to the first one? …I like that one better.”

  • Also the use of “Just” – IE. “Can you just throw out a few quick designs?”

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  • Jeremy Hardwick

    This is great if you haven’t seen it yet – http://www.makemylogobiggercream.com/

  • Stacy Love

    Do your magic. Make it pretty. Or ”just” before any statement…

  • Stacy Love

    Also, ”My daughter/son/neice/3-year-old” designed our logo.

  • George

    Just add some “eye candy”. Nothing more degrading.

  • Todd Van Slyck

    One I get from a producer I work with says something like this on a regular basis (after I send something to review). “Looks great, I’ve got a couple quick tweaks and we should be set!” Followed by several pages of “quick tweaks”

    • Todd Van Slyck

      I’m an video editor and motion graphics designer, but this is the same kind of stuff I hear

  • Jordan Pinkston

    This has become a support forum… I like it

    • Absolutely! We’re all in this together 🙂

  • 1. Building on the pop theme….
    Can you make the hero image pop some more.


    Can you make the logo pop.


    Can you make the headline pop.


    [everything pops]

    2. I showed it to my wife/husband….

    3. I’ve had a look for some stock photos…. can you use these…

    4. [Creative Director lurks behind designers shoulder]
    [Designer] yes? what do you want to change

    5. I only have 800 words for this 1 sided A5 flyer… Can you edit it down without losing it’s character?

    • haha! Love it. Some classics right there.

  • “I’ll know it when I see it.”

  • Danny Valentine Fernando-Trick

    can you make it more dynamic?

    • Nicci Lennet

      Just this evening I heard those words….

  • “Make the text bright yellow” (on a white background) #truestory

    – Steven Gliebe

  • Knightingale

    “Can you hammer out 2-3 layouts? I’ll check them in about an hour.”
    “Who’s going to know if we take images from the internet?”
    “Here, I tried my hand at designing the logo – can we use this?”
    “I think every paragraph should have centered text.”
    “Just work your designer magic.” (when told a thumbnail image can’t be blown up to half a page)

  • Aaron Skinner

    Can “resize” this real quick for me? (this = 600px x 900px portrait | resize = 90px x 780px landscape)

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  • “Anyone can do graphic design, it’s not like it’s hard.”

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