Okay, so as designers, we all loved “You know you’re a graphic designer when…”. For those of you who weren’t around or don’t remember, this was a viral list of some of the many oddities and unique characteristics that describe graphic designers. It was a little tongue-in-cheek, and for the most part, it really rang true.

When it first hit the web a number of years ago, it was extremely well received. I remember being huddled around a single computer in the studio with the rest of the designers. We all shrieked in delight about how much we related to it and about how much we really had in common with each other. Many similar lists spawned from the same idea. You can Google pretty much anything on the end of “You know you’re a” and come up with a list.

But, why did we like it so much? Perhaps because we felt someone took the time to get to know us. Well, they may not have really known us, but they touched upon aspects of ourselves that we could relate to. Someone articulated things about who we were that we may not have even realized. And, they not only made sense, they made us laugh and think about ourselves in a different way. That connection is what we gravitated to and why we shared it with everyone.

It is that same connection we as creative professionals still strive to achieve with our design and communications. We want our audience to know that we took the time to get to know them. We want them to think about something differently. We want to appeal to who they are as individuals and provide them with a message they can relate to.


In a world that’s getting a lot smaller, where we’re constantly inundated with messages – a lot of which are just noise – we want to have a clear voice that can speak to our audience and achieve that desired connection. So, how do we do that? We ask questions, we listen, we share and we learn. We then take what we know and apply it to our work. Hopefully, at the end of the day, that attention to detail has made a difference – not only in what we say, but how we say it.

On that note, how about reviving the list for today’s designer, just for fun? And this time, let’s make it a quiz… are you a graphic designer?

  1. When selecting a greeting card, do you opt for the better design over the perfect sentiment?
  2. Do you ever wonder how it’s legal to have the names of street signs horizontally scaled to fit the allotted space?
  3. Have you ever tried to command/control ‘S’ while reading a web page that you weren’t finished with?
  4. Do you feel that if someone touches your monitor it’s an intrusion upon your personal space?
  5. When you discover the list of web safe fonts has been added to, do you feel the need to high-five someone?

So, how did you do? Or, better yet, what questions would you rather ask?