A Designer's Nightmare

Lies. A designer has more than a single nightmare or type of nightmare. Trust me, even I wish there was only one version, but we know that ain’t possible. I mean, think about all the yellow text on white, the website that isn’t made for mobile, the ugly cursive menu items in a restaurant, or the templated card you received to your relative’s wedding. They were all moments when designers had to swallow our knowledge, suppress our screams of despair, and prevent the tears of aesthetic misery from dropping into such atrocities of visual acceptance. We’re so used to giving the world the benefit of the doubt, that people and clients fail to notice the nightmares we live in. And I thought adding some sympathetic understanding into the life of designers by voicing a few of the nightmares we face would be helpful.


Crash without a save

When you’re about to meet the deadline, you have overcome your designer block, your design has taken shape, you have spent hours trying different versions of this design, and your confidence has been boosted to code red levels, and then the program crashes.

A moment of silence for the loss please.


Plugin Fail

That moment when you told your client to purchase the most highly rated plugin for a feature, after hours and days of research and plugin testing and you were confident their website was going to get an instant glow up but the plugin fails and disappoints. And when you think the plugin’s support will be reliable, but nope! You’re on your own designer. Do you try another plugin? Do you ask your client to contact support directly? Do you ask your client to purchase another plugin? Do you threaten the plugin’s nonexistent support and be called a Karen and submit the website late and be called irresponsible by the client?

Well if you haven’t prayed, now’s a good time.


(Un)Assigned Puppet Designer

You’ve been assigned as the designer for a project. But the client is the real designer. Or maybe your supervisor who lacks quite a bit in the design department decides to design. Or tell you how to design. And you begin to realize that you’re used as an instruct-to-design AI long before the existence of AI technology.

Bonus: If you’re a muslim designer, see Traits of a Muslim Designer to empathize.


Requirements Beyond the Job

When you’re a designer, but the hiring manager, the client and the world would like you to also be able to write copy, edit videos, code apps, build websites, animate characters, illustrate children’s books, know Arabic calligraphy, rank on the first page of Google, understand the best times to post on social, know the font used in any logo, own and entire printing press with various inks and paper types, and have beautiful handwriting.

That’s a Multi-faceted, Beyond capable, Experience-without-the-years-of-experience, Super Designer that if you couldn’t tell is low-key lying.


Using Copyright without Copyrights

This was more a nightmare of the past rather than our current times. Nevertheless it’s still a nightmare to be assigned a project with absolutely no resources. And when you wonder why, you may be told that Google or Bing or the internet is full of them. “Can’t you just google an image of X”. In other words, steal someone else’s photography, design, and content to bring out the best in your client.

Literally just told to put your life on the line for your client. A true sacrifice.


While the list of designer nightmares never fully seizes, that rewarding satisfaction you feel at the completion of a project is still so sweet, so perfect it makes being a designer and pursuing the next project worth it.

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