15 warning signs you might be a designer

Carrie Cousins.
November 18, 2016
15 warning signs you might be a designer.
Do you ever fall into one of those designer “stereotypes?” Admit it, maybe you wear a lot of black, or maybe you have unfriended someone for using Comic Sans. Even from afar, there are a few things that set designers apart from the rest of the crowd. How many of these fifteen signs can you relate to?

1. You have a favorite letter

Every designer has a go-to character that they love to play with in a variety of type styles. (I’ll admit to loving the ampersand and even had an ampersand coffee mug.) But the defining factor is that you will try to incorporate that character into the design in marquee ways as often as possible. ampersand

2. You have disliked dinner because of menu typography

The menu looked just awful. The type choices were abysmal. And then the food just left a bad taste in your mouth. Was it really bad? Or were you still stewing over the poor lettering choices?

3. Clever negative space makes your day

Remember when you first saw the arrow in the FedEx logo, or the faces in the Girl Scouts brand image? Designers live for that ah-ha moment, and crave coming up with an idea just as simple and timeless. logos with negative space

4. You want to kern everything

From street signs to letters in the mail, kerning opportunities are everywhere. Why doesn’t everyone else see them?

5. You judge a company by its business card


6. You see design everywhere

Design isn’t just something you do. It’s something you see. It’s something you create. You find cool design elements in the way plates are stacked in a department store or in the opening credits of a movie, or even when trying to pack the car for vacation. All of these elements are problems — like design — involve small pieces that need to be put together in a logical manner. And you thrive on that creative problem solving.

7. You buy craft beer… just for the label

Some of the coolest design ideas and illustrations on products today are coming out of the beer industry. From cool logos to mini bits of art on each label, you seem to have a growing collection of empty bottles. (It’s an art collection!) Beer labels

8. You have a collection of Moleskines or other notebooks

Be honest: How many sketchbooks do you own right now? (I have four on my desk right now, and every single one is a Moleskine.) You just never know when you will need to map out a plan or jot something down before the inspiration leaves you. It can go away as quickly as it hits. The other sign of a designer? Each of those notebooks is paired with a high-quality pen or pencil. No blue ballpoint pens here!

9. Your Amazon wishlist includes something from the Pantone collection

You don’t want to be that geek that buys a Pantone 19-4007 coffee mug for yourself, but it sure would make a great gift. If you were to check your public wishlist now, how many Pantone items would you find? Panton Coffee Mug

10. Coffee is a food group

You never really know when that spark of creativity is going to hit. Sometimes it’s 5 a.m.; sometimes it’s 9 p.m. With that kind of random schedule, coffee is a must. (No one will judge you if there are little brown rings on your paper notes.)

11. You know that turquoise and sky are different colors

The rainbow is much bigger than the seven-color arc that you learned about in school. It includes an infinite number of colors that you likely think about in terms of CMYK, RGB, or Hex, depending on the project. And nothing is more irritating that someone adding a color to a design that is off-palette because “it looked close in the color picker”. blues

12. You collect design elements

There’s a folder somewhere on your computer filled with design elements you have yet to use. From swatches to typefaces to stock images to full layouts, these little design pieces range from elements you made but did not use for specific projects to freebies that caught your eye. Whether you ever actually use them or not is in question, but they never get dragged to the trash, just in case the need comes around.

13. Art supply stores are your happy place

There’s nothing like opening a new pack of pencils or popping the cap off a new pen for the first time. You can spend hours browsing art supplies while your spouse keeps checking his or her watch. (I’ll admit, nothing has made me happier than the emergence of trendy adult coloring books; it almost justifies my hobby. And fewer people look at you oddly when you color in public.) supplies Credit for this image goes to Liana_Kyle.

14. You see solutions when others see problems

On a more serious note, as a designer you are a natural problem-solver. Just think of it, every design project solves some sort of conundrum. That natural ability probably comes through in most aspects of your life as you find yourself picture solutions during everyday conversations. You might also find yourself always in the position to help or unable to say no when asked for advice.

15. You want everything to have a place

You design on a grid. You watch details and line everything up in a pixel perfect manner. This desire for harmony and organization probably extends to other parts of your life as well. From the style of your home to the manner in which books are stacked on shelves, every item has a place. While others might not see it, there’s often a method to this madness or a design element in action. bottle-gridCredit for this image goes to Fatima Flores.

Carrie Cousins

Carrie Cousins is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in the communications industry, including writing for print and online publications, and design and editing. You can connect with Carrie on Twitter @carriecousins.

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