The Life of a Designer

Sep 29, 2020 | Agency Updates

After coming across BuzzFeed’s post, 14 Secrets Designers Will Never Tell You, we decided to ask the Gavin design team to come up with a list of their own.

As you can imagine, the results are pretty fantastic.


We overanalyze menus, to the point where we’ve spent all of our time looking at image, text and layout and haven’t even had the chance to actually DECIDE what we want to eat when the waitress/waiter comes back to the table. “Can I have just a few more minutes please?”


We may not go into a store that has a bad sign or bad logo design. Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say — and yet when it comes to design, we may fall into the deep darkness.

On the other end, we may just buy something because the packaging is awesome. You may get home and wonder, “What even IS this?” But the packaging is so glorious, you don’t even care. You just plop that box right where all eyes can see, so proud you’ve found this majestic item.

Bottle of Red? Bottle of White?

Whichever, but it better have a kickass label. In fact, to a designer there are only TWO kinds of wine: That which has a great label, and that which we will never buy.


We may stop the car (or at least make you slow down) to take a photo of an awesome sign. Or the beautiful colors that are among us on the outside world. You didn’t REALLY want to get there on time, did you? We’ve done it for the opposite reasons too — bad marketing mistakes are how we get our kicks. We never hope we see any — but reality is we expect it and we’re just waiting for the next one to show itself.


There is a 100 percent chance that we will be complimenting or bashing the effectiveness of a commercial. Sitting next to a designer on the couch with the television on leads to an open critique, with echoes of “Why would they do that?” and “Who even thought that would make ANY sense?”


We over-analyze everything. (Did you read that thing about the menus?) And when we see an error in public, we’re proud to point it out — really to whoever will listen. It’s our own secret level of achievement. We mean no harm; we just like to reassure ourselves that we are good at what we do.

Apostrophe Catastrophe

What starts with learning typography ends with being constantly let down by most things you see published… anywhere. A few things a designer can’t stand? The possessive decade. For example: “Oh my Gawd, the 80’s were so rad!” Look, the 80s don’t own anything.

Also the backwards single apostrophe abbreviating a year. It should be done with a right apostrophe, like ’57 Chevy, so whenever we see ‘96 Civic in a car ad or ‘05 Class Reunion, we die a little. We wish we didn’t, but you just can’t “un-see” this stuff out there in the world.

Graphic designer Lindsey Gemmill says it best: “All of these things drive our loved ones to the brink of insanity. But hey, it’s the life of a designer, and they knew what they were signing up for — right?”