A Field Guide to Designers

We’ve all seen them, sitting at the coffee shop with their headphones in, posting comments on Facebook about other people’s grammar, debating the finer points of whitespace. They are the oft-misunderstood and underappreciated species known collectively as Designers. I’ve put together the following collection of design-related infographics to act as sort of a “Field Guide to Designers.” Designers are fascinating and intriguing; it is my hope this guide will shed light on these elusive creatures.

Any good field guide gives you clues on how to spot the critter you’re trying to identify. This “Anatomy of a Designer” chart helps to spot a designer or other creative type out in the wild. Skinny jeans, sneakers, Apple products? Most likely a designer; approach with caution.

Sometimes you can’t identify your quarry by looks alone, as age of the specimen and time of year will produce different looks. In these situations, identification can be made based on observed actions and behaviors. Does the creature go to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, after freelancing in the middle of the night? Do they complain of “design by committee?” According to the “A Day in the Life of a Designer” print, you might be observing a designer.

Another way of classifying a creature of creativity is by noting their environment. Designers often have quirky, ironic, or artsy posters, t-shirts, and screensavers. The “Creative Routines” infographic—detailing daily habits of famous creatives—made the social media rounds a while back, but the devoted creative professional will probably have a print hanging on his office wall cubicle partition.

Classification of species is also important. Look at the infographic below that asks, “Serif or Sans Serif?” If you passionately shouted out one or the other—or secretly thought, “Anything but Comic Sans!”—then it’s quite possible that you are a designer!

Not to worry, there’s a guide for that. You can learn all you need to know about living the creative life and the state of graphic design from the following infographics. From them you can learn how creative folk really spend their day (especially freelancers), how to bring out your inner creative genius, what tools a designer relies on, and which US states employ the most designers.

And finally, whether you’ve realized you’re a designer, are cautiously observing one from a distance, or sitting across the breakfast table from one, one thing no designer can live without is caffeine. Black tea, diet cola, chai lattes, coffee: designers are fueled by the stuff. “In Caffeine We Trust” indicates the proper coffee beverage to consume based on the number of hours left before deadline. It’s scientifically proven, I’m sure.

I think I could look at infographics all day long. I’ve never attempted to actually create one, myself—still waiting for that client that wants me to create one of all the plot holes in Doctor Who episodes. Do you design them? Are your walls or computer desktop plastered with them? Do you spend hours posting them to Facebook and Pinterest? Let me know in the comments, and share your favorites with us!

Posted on: August 8, 2014

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for over 25 years. She is a speaker, writer, and trainer, focusing on Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, Apple Keynote and iBooks Author, and other print- and production-related topics. She is a regular contributor to InDesign Magazine, tech edited How To Do Everything with Adobe InDesign CS4, and served as leader of the Denver InDesign User Group. After living as a nomad for almost a year, she recently put down roots in El Paso, Texas, where she hikes and bikes every chance she gets. Check out ericagamet.com to see all of Erica's upcoming events, tips and tricks, and workbooks.

4 Comments on A Field Guide to Designers

  1. Yeti, apparently

    August 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I am the elusive, mythological design creature no on thinks exists, apparently. Been a designer for 25 years (award-winning, thank you!), but: I am irritated by Apple products (occasionally use a couple, but deliberately own none), can’t stand caffeine, find serif fonts generally hard to read even in print, don’t eat fast food, and have happily tolerated contact lenses for about 30 years. I am fond of Helvetica, though.

    I wonder if there are any others of my kind out there?

    P.S. PCs have ALWAYS been able to do everything MACs can (and sometimes better), at least for all my 25 years in the biz.

  2.  I so agree. I really don’t like coffee. I have an i-Pad Mini and i-Touch but I have always worked on a PC. MAC users look at me like I am an alien with mittens on. I second that Helvetica statement(I am fond of it as well). I am not really down with the continuious Fast Food but do however really enjoy occasional French Fries. Apples and Peanut Butter are a go to as well as green tea. No glasses. I use my original peepers.

  3. Here is my contribution to the tee shirt for Designers (of all kinds).

    “Yesturday I couldn’t efen spell Deziner. Today IR1”

  4. Erica, just saving a spot on my wall for your Doctor Who one. 😉

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.