Biggest lessons we’ve learned as Graphic Designers


The world of a graphic designer is constantly evolving which requires you to learn new things each project.

Even a seasoned graphic designer will learn new things every day, both in  technical skill, and just straight up life lessons! (It isn’t always easy to master the patience of a saint when a customer is asking you to make the black more blacker, make the logo bigger, enlarge the font by 5% ).

In this weeks episode of The Angry Designer Podcast, we talk about the biggest lessons
we’ve learned as graphic designers over the past 20+ years, share our industry knowledge, and a few laughs and rants along the way.

Episode Transcript


Dude. I was so upset, honestly, literally it might've, it probably was that night. I f*****g, I was like, screw this. I went on Kijiji. I found his giant swordfish that I went, I traveled two hours to go buy it, brought it back, spray bomb, the whole thing white over the weekend, hung it up. I took down it big ass, boring painting that was in the boardroom. I put up a giant white sword. And that was it. All of a sudden, it was just like, that's what we need To redesign where we cut through the industry bowl to how frustrated graphic designers survive and thrive. Oh, that's amazing. We're so. 


Horrible. We're not gonna put together a Capella group. 


Yeah. Well tonight is just proof that yes. You're always learned. 




Well, cheers to a very exciting podcast, but still drinking non alcohol. Yes. Yes. We're still where we've only got five days to go by midnight Fridays. Like, that's only a few hours away, 


Yeah. Isn't that sad that you're looking forward. 


No, I'm going to try to actually fall asleep early that night. So I don't. 


Yes. It's like Christmas for old people. 


We did it though, 


Which is fine. I'm impressed with us like this. 


We deserve a cookie. The big thing on that is just cause it's like, you want to make sure you've got control over this kind of s**t. 


Yeah. Plus it's saying you can do this, right? It's like, I'm not dependent on now. I still think I'm an alcoholic. 


Do the master of my domain because the reality is last year, I only made it till like January 20. 


Sucked, dude. That's still, that's. 


Still pretty. That's why this year I made it hard. I left the alcohol in my office in eyesight and it was torturing myself to remind me that I sucked last year. Now it's going to be harder for you. This. 


That is a stone cold ball. That is awesome. I can't even believe that I had to drink all, most of this. 


Stuff, please, your blackouts, but. 


I had a really good Christmas break. 


Well, hello and almost goodbye. Dry. 




All right. Oh, so Sean, guess what? I don't know if you've been paying attention or not, but we got our first bad review. We got a bad review. We got, yes. You know, at first I saw it. I'm like, what the f**k? I'm reading and the dude was, he was really upset. He didn't slam the show. He didn't say anything about the show. Does anything about us? What else? How could he? No, but he went on about, I, we talked a couple episodes back about, Google, going crazy on page load speeds. And that it's horrible money. It's not about the user experience because when you're, like at that kind of page load speed, like they're talking about like milliseconds of users, never going to make a difference. Right. This guy went in there and he was really irate about it. It really bugged him. He's like, you didn't know what you're talking about. 


It all makes a difference. Use, like page upload speed makes a huge difference. Even if it's just a half a millisecond and he went on like this and again, like we're not talking about waiting for minutes and minutes on end for a page fair talking 0.8 seconds versus point because Google's new. Their new algorithm is all about the improving the user experience, which is a bunch of b******t. It's just so they can crawl more sites. If they all load faster is the reality. Right. That's the reality smell. Another bad review covet save dude, too. So, so the reality though, he was really upset about it and it sucks because he actually gave us a one star out of it, which totally sucks. Again, it wasn't about, he didn't like the show, he didn't like our stance, our opinion on something. In all fairness, I'm not changing mine. 


No. Yeah. It sucks because that's going to now change your score . So that sucks. The only way to combat this is we need you guys, if you do love us, you want to help us out at all, get on apple podcasts, give us a comment or just throw us a five star or four star or even a three-star Relistor. Yeah. Be honest about it. If you can get something out of this. Great. If you enjoy it. Great. If you think we're a bunch of doofuses, Hey, whatever, I'm hoping we can get that page score up just because yeah. It was a little disappointing. Cause again, it was disappointing that he didn't, he wasn't saying thing about the show. Yeah. He was seeing something about a viewpoint in this show. Right, right. That's where I was just kinda like, my first reaction, of course, being a hot blooded Italian is to be like, what is it? 


Who is that? Let me hunt them down on the web and order a him on his family. No, just kidding. But, but I mean, in all fairness, I've learned to chill a lot more. Right. I literally read into his message more and realized it wasn't anything about me. It wasn't anything personal. I didn't take it personal. So I didn't get upset about it. Right. It was just like, all right, it's unfortunate. I'm reaching out to our peoples now to maybe help us out. The funny thing is this whole reacting thing is something that I've learned over the past 20, 22 years of doing this 25 years, if you include the other jobs. Right. So, which I think is a good segue into this show, brilliant segue. Cause this is about the s**t that we've learned as a graphic designer over the years. These are life lessons learned doing this for as many years. 


Now, our lessons of course are our seasons. We've been doing this for 20 plus years, right. At people have got lessons at five years. People have got lessons at 10. I wish that when I was at my 2, 3, 4 five-year mark, I wish there was people like us or like that's already on the web right now. At the same time, I think early on in our career, a lot of us are so naive to think that we have all the answers and it's like, oh yeah. You know, it's like, right. Let me tell you if I knew a fraction of the s**t that I knew now I would, granted, you may have to learn it still for yourself. Yes. The learning curve might be a hell of a lot quicker. Right. It might only take one or two blown jobs and somebody saying, Hey, you take those kinds of people. 


You're going to blow that word. Y'all and sudden start putting things together a lot quicker. Yeah, exactly. So literally we are continually learning. Right. Even technically before this, we had some challenges were like, where did this come from? The reality is, this is a lifelong process. We've learned some awesome things throughout the years. I think what we're going to do today is we're actually going to, we're going to talk about the s**t that we've learned, ? I would love it if you guys fed back on some of the things that you've learned, whether, you've been doing this, for only a couple of years or you've been up at it like, well, the guys and that, and I mean, I know some of the people that are on her Instagram, I mean, they just focus in on print. I hear about the print, others on screen printing, I hear about them. 


This is an interesting to hear life lessons that how many of our lessons actually together are kind of the same unified lesson and how many are still, very focused on certain aspects of the industry. Yeah. That's really cool. I think so. Anyway, so yeah. These are the biggest lessons we've learned as graphic designers here at this agency. All right. Shall we start my friend? Let's do it. Let's do this. Alright. Number one. Yes. Oh, and again, no particular. Yep. This is the first in the long list in a long list. All right. First lesson learned, they can't all be gems. Right. It's right out of the gate, right? This is a big one that I think everybody gets, but the ones that are early on in the career often get frustrated with where us as people who've been doing this a little longer realize this, like the reality is there's bills to be paid and a big part of our job. 


Unless you plan on just working on a single project at a time, you don't want repeat customers have different degrees of requests. Some of them are big. Some of them feel like b***h work. Right. The thing is, they rely on us, our abilities to actually get this s**t done. That's right. Who are we to complain about this? Right? This is actually kind of an interesting one, right? Cause we've hired a lot of, new people here and they get frustrated because after, they're just out of ice, there are, they're out there at a design school and they get, we're testing them everywhere and they get frustrated because they're not getting these huge glamorous projects. It's like, dude, you don't have the understanding to even take on something like this. The funny thing is we still sprinkled them with those opportunities. 


Once in a while, you gotta, yeah. You, you have to have those encouraging moments as a junior designer and that's, but you cut your teeth on the little thing, 


The truth is this business is based on, I like to say maybe 60, 70% of our stuff is stuffed to pay the bills. Right. Maybe you want to call it. That's what our retainer stuff is. Just the stuff on the ongoing basis to actually just pays our bills, gets us through. Right. That is the power points of the world. That is the whole, social posts and everything. But again, you still can find gems. This is. 


Right. It's all how your perspective and how you look at it, right? Like if you find something, if you're doing something, that's a little mundane or, running the mail, like a social post or something like that, you can find creative ways to work in these really restrictive. 


Absolutely. You still can push yourself. You can still don't sit there and be like, oh my God, they're giving me b***h work. I hate and grumble. That's not the attitude dude. Like two weeks ago, you did that Photoshop by that Photoshop layer defile. Sean came up with this brilliant concept, put together an awesome mood board, the client of course, pinpointed on this one tiny concept. One is some of these changes and that image didn't right. It was a Getty image, but it's like kind of silly to buy a thousand dollar Getty image and like literally have to convert two thirds of it typically. So you literally created it from scratch. Yeah. 


F*****g rockstar. I was jealous. 


Some people would sit there and be like, Aw, man, this is such b******t work, dude. It was so damn cool. You built this from scratch. I was jealous. 


Secretly. Like I know, cause those are the golden ones. Those are like, they're very rare. They don't come along. 


Those are like the little diamonds that you find within like these projects that people keep thinking are crap. Right. Exactly. And I was jealous. We're good. Right. Literally that ended up being the staple image in the entire, in this whole. 


Yeah. So, and that was fun. Those are the, those are the awesome ones. There are a lot of work, but it's a lot of brainpower and you've got your you're copying or not copying, but your basis for the image that you're working off of. Yeah, but I mean, that's very rare. They don't come along the whole lot, but you still gotta look, you got to look into for the good things in PowerPoint, even images. 


I mean even like, think about the power point, right? You've elevated PowerPoints out of this company, hands down, right. PowerPoints used to be boring. Like seriously, you crank that up. And again, you could think of them. Somebody could just say grumble through it. We had some people grumbled for it. 


People who refuse to work feels to do that. Like I didn't go to school to learn PowerPoint, 


Needless to say, I refuse to pay those people. They weren't here for very long, but I mean, the truth is, they can't all be gems, but a lot of this is just a matter of opinion, attitude, figuring out what the real reason is. Right. If you're going to be a bigger part of a team, or if you need, a long-term career here and you're freelancing, you got to accept the fact that they're not all going to be award winning projects, or portfolio pieces or whatever. Cause unfortunately clients need all of you, not just the best. 


Yes. The best part of that too, is all those little jobs that you think is, are beneath you or stuff like that. Prepare you for those big ones. When you salute, when you get to it. Right. You're almost like, oh, okay. I know I've honed my craft with this program without Photoshop. I know it inside and out now I'm ready for Zack for my closeup. 


Don't just focus on the job, focus on the outcome of it. Like the bigger picture, the bigger. 


Picture. That's. 


Good. That's good. All right. Yes. All right. That was a good one. I wasn't good. One. 


All right. I liked that. 


One. I'll tee up the next one. What's the next one, Mr. 


No. Okay. This one is a good one too. Don't take yourself too seriously. Have some fun with, 


Oh, right. Like seriously. Like I find it hilarious. Okay. Early on when I started, I was always trying to be somebody I wasn't, I was trying to be serious. I was trying to be taken seriously. And I hate that I did. 


At a tie. Do they look like a. 


Zoot suit? I literally looked like a little mobster. Right. But, but the reality is I was trying to be, I was trying to take myself too seriously. I was trying to be this elevate, like this whole persona that I just wasn't and everything suffered. I was miserable. The clients I was working with made me miss everything about it because I was just taking it. I was taking myself too seriously. I was taking the industry too seriously. I mean, this is a creative industry. I love seeing quirky creative PS, but it breaks my heart to see these quirky creative people put on, a different persona to try to do business. And that's what sucks. Right? I think people, oh man, I don't even get me started on this one. This one actually bothers me. Okay. 


I know it's that. And that's the beauty of this. It's like, you can't be something you're not like, and once you pivoted, once you turn that point where you're just like, what, f**k this. I'm going to beat myself. Then you become genuine. I am. In that people feed off of that and totally. 


That's a way better approach to do. Absolutely. I mean, you're happier with what you do, your work shows, right? Your relationship show, right? Like, I mean, again, we, I, halfway through this whole career, I, almost had a breakdown. I couldn't take it anymore. I literally burned my suit. Right. You know, we moved into the garage. We, we got all, we changed our whole persona and I just started being who the hell were. Right. To the point where it's like, I had a new client meeting, potential new client meeting like three weeks ago. Dude, I was so blunt and forward with them. I was like, you know what? This is us. You know, I had a baseball cap. I was wearing a hoodie that day. Our work spoke for ourselves. The clients we work with, spoke like, it's not like, we're just kind of kids, but it's like, dude, this is who we are. 


We need to happen, dude, when we moved to this location. Okay. When we moved to this location. Yeah. We used to be in the cool garage. Yeah. Okay. And it was literally a little garage. It was awesome. I love this place. The doors would open up, right? Yeah. That was a really cool space. And then we needed to class up. We felt, I felt we needed to class up. I had some influence at the time was like, no, you got to clean up your act and you'll get bigger jobs. Right. So that's when we purchased this place. Right. We literally built it from the ground up and it looks, I mean, it looked like an art gallery. Right? Think about it. Like the walls, the colors, the whole, everything was like white and space. Were like trying to be this company where we got all this, really conservative, boring s**t on the walls, that some people would call art and he was just driving me nuts. 


Right. There's something about here when it was coming every day was just like, well, this isn't me. This is me. Then numb. I had a meeting with some clients that they came to our old location. Right. Okay. It was near with the garage they were familiar with. It was actually, it was a customer, one of our customers at the time. It was a co-op student who was at the old location. I guess she was finishing off her term. She came to the new location and they were like, wow. Yeah, the place is really beautiful. Yeah. Good for you. Congratulations. And I'm like, yeah, thanks. Right. And s**t. The girl's like, honestly, I think I like your old space better. I was like, f**k, I just dropped a bundle on this. Why? And I'm like, I wish shocks. Right. Good for her. I commend this girlfriend saying this and she's like, yes. 


She's like, Nope, nothing person. She's like, it's a beautiful place. I love everything about it. She's like, but the other place had personality. Yes. She's like, this place is beautiful, but it looks like it could be anybody. It was just like, it really struck a chord. Right. Cause I was trying to be, so I was trying to be all serious. Yeah, dude. I was so upset. Honestly. Literally it might've, it probably was that night. I f*****g, I was like, screw this. I went on Kijiji. I found this giant swordfish that I went, I traveled two hours to go buy it, brought it back, spray bomb, the whole thing white over the weekend. I hung it up. I took down a big ass boring painting that was in the boardroom. I put up a giant white sword and that was it. All of a sudden, it was just like, that's what we need. 


One at a time I started burning all the old crap. I mean, now we got skateboards in the walls. We've got giant comics at the back. We got superheroes everywhere. We've got Funko is, I mean, again, 


Cool little drawings back there, 


Scooter and the scooter. The reality is, and now it's like people come in, they get the vibe, they get the place and they got the people and we're not going to be for everybody. But you know what? I don't want to take myself so damn serious and get those customers that it's just horrible. 


Yeah. Work with. It's like that abstract show that you were telling me, Hey, tinker, Hatfield, his office, like his space. This guy looked like a big kid. 


Yeah, he did. 


Yeah. He's got his long board and he's like scoot around. It's just like, that's genuine like that guy, but he's also not taking himself seriously. He, 


He knows he's good at what he does, but he's not like, oh, I sound like I'm a world famous shoe designer. Listen to me. Like, no, like he was just like, dude was wearing a cool Derby ass, honestly. 


Yeah. Yeah. Got the office, with all the instruments and that f*****g, that campers seriously. 




That guy is awesome. And he does not take himself serious. I think we're in a great space that we can get away with this kind of stuff. We're doing counting s**t like that. No slag to the accountants either. You're all very important. 


Maybe that might be a little different. You may not want to look so great looking to hide money, but it's true. Right? Like certain professions, are expected to be a little different, but we're in the creative world. Right? Like we, our designers can get away with this skewed. We should embrace this. Just, I mean, again, so many of the people that we follow are covered in tats, they're still wearing baseball hats, they're just, they look like animals and that's great. You know, I love it. Right? Like this is the only industry that you're expected to look like a rock star, not like a, a doctors mongering pool, right. This is not wall street, Dude. Honestly, taking yourself too seriously is the people who do the designers who do are in it for themselves. You know? They're trying to build up their own ego. But, but I guarantee you, they're the ones that have the shortest careers, they're burning out within three to five years and seriously, like who wants to work with somebody who's too, like, not just as a customer, but imagine an employee. 


Yeah. I, like you can't work for people like that. 


No, that would suck. 


That would suck. There's no secret that happy people are more productive. That's true. Yeah. They're healthier. Honestly, they find more from more genuine enjoyment in life, not just in what they do. Right. I honestly don't take yourself too seriously. Again, your unique personality might not be for every customer, but it's a big world and there's a lot of customers that'll take just the way you are. If you are conservative by nature, do it own it. There's customers that want that. Honestly, if you're a kind of personality, if you're quirky, embrace it, love it. Like be who you are. This is the industry that we need to do and you will get the customer. You will just naturally attract the customers that gravitate to your kind of personality. That's right. Cool. Yeah. They expect us to be a little weird. So who wants to be normal? 


That's just normal lane. All right. This is a big one. Okay. This one, I think everybody struggles with. Even me up until recently struggling with this one. So stop comparing yourself to others. There's always going to be somebody who's better and that's okay. Yes. That's the key there. That's right. Right. So many times people are so, okay. Let's not even start talking about imposter syndrome yet. Yeah. Okay. Well, we'll get into that there, but honestly like trying to compare yourself to other people totally sucks. The fun out of your experience, you may have had a big score that day and thousand dollar logo. Right. And that's huge for you. Yeah. You're going to just feel like s**t. If all of a sudden you're like, oh, that guy named her charges 10,000 boy does that. Don't worry about that s**t because it just sucks the enjoyment out of your experience, right? 


Like the only person that you should be comparing yourself to is yourself yesterday. All right. Just, just yet, if you can take a picture, a snapshot of what you were yesterday and if you're a little better today than yesterday, then you rang, you succeeded. Exactly. Like, I mean, even recently I focused a lot on the business and I didn't get out into the social game. I didn't get out into massive YouTube game. I see some of the people out there that are doing it and I'm like, I'm better than these guys. And it would drive me nuts. Right. It's like, and it was irking me for a long time. I was like, I can do that. I can, the differences I didn't right. They did, they did that. And it was p*****g me off. Although I was comparing the end result of what they were doing, what I wasn't comparing is the effort it took there. 


Right. Instead I spent the effort here building this place, which we've done really well. We've had a huge pivot a few years ago into TAC. That has worked really well for us. Right. This was my energy. Right. It wasn't there. And that's okay. I had to, I had to overcome that. I had to realize that it wasn't, that I thought they were better than me, but there was some jealousy there that I had to learn how to come to terms with yeah. After it was just like, dude, like them or not, they did it, they worked their asses off for it. Good for them. To the point where I even, I talked to one, I met one of them and I even said that. I said, I've had a love and hate relationship with you for years. Right. And he like laughed. He was like, holy s**t. 


Like you're saying, 


You say you needed me. 


You know? And I was just like, yeah, walls. I was like, he was pure jealousy for a little while because I was like, I can do this. I remember you starting. I remember like, oh, I could do this, but I didn't. I mean, again, that was my f**k up. That was on me. Right. 


It's different prioritizing. Right. Yeah. Right. 


It was hurting me. Just try to compare myself. That was that's the thing. Right. It was kind of playing with the imposter syndrome . I was doubting my skills. I was debating our experience. I had a different focus altogether. Right. Ultimately that was how I came to terms with it and I realized it and that's totally cool. Right. They deserve every single little bit of fame that they've gotten from it. Right. Worked very hard. 


Yeah. Absolutely. It was just, their priorities were a little different from absolutely. 


And I still watch them. I still listen to them and I'm still like, yeah, great point. Right. Honestly, it's a fun sucker trying to like watch other people and compare yourself to them. Yeah. 


It's the thief of joy. It really is joy. It's so true though. Yeah. I mean, you're not, and if you're focusing too much on what that other person is doing, you're not paying attention to your own backyard. You know what I mean? Like, oh, it's so true. And that's true. Yeah. Then, something is slipping by you not focusing on what you're doing. Absolutely. Right. 


Oh yeah. And it's tricky. It's tricky. Cause you have to remember that. You're awesome. You know, we're awesome. We're awesome. You are specials too. You're awesome. We love you. No, the reality is it's like, again, it's, you're only doing yourself a disservice if you're trying to compete against people because you don't know that backstory. That's right. There's a lot of history, but there is a lot of hits. We're not talking about, the exact same experiences, the exact same outcomes. That's not the case. Right. Learn from these other people. Right. Again, they are who they are because of their entire life where it's experiences, everything that they've done. Right. And that's who you are. So use that as motivation. Right? Look at these people get inspired by them, but stop comparing yourself to them in the negative way. You can aspire to be like them. Like we have with many of the greats out there we've aspired. 


Like at the same time, you're not doing yourself any favors comparing yourself to exactly right. 


Negative way. No, no. Yeah. Once as soon as we learned, we're not going to be muscle Vanille oh, we think of the burden that right. I can't compare myself to that dude. It's so true. I can be inspired by his work. Absolutely. Which is the, probably the way to look at it rather than trying to live his life. Zim is never going to work. You're never going to work. 


Cool. Don't do. So that was a big one. That's one that again, even up until recently, I can honestly say that, I've struggled with, I think we always struggled with it from that does lead to imposter syndrome. He will make you second doubt yourself. The thing is again, try harder than ever just to compare yourself to you yesterday. Yes. That's it. Everybody else is just inspiration. Yeah. That's it? Yeah, 


Exactly. Yeah. You're on a path that is uniquely. 


Absolutely. I enjoy it. Embrace it. Embrace it. That's right. Yes. Cool. Ooh, that was a heavy one. Yeah. That was a little heavy. I'm sorry. You know, that was really touchy feely. There that's really good. One touch me. I was just touching myself. Oh, that sounds wrong. Actually. That's bad. Sorry guys. Sorry. 


I know you. 


Oh God. Okay. Moving on. Moving on the next one. The next one. This is a good one too. 


Yeah. Bill bridges. Don't burn them. 


Change. Totally. Right? Yeah. That was a hard one. There's a lot of people who like, literally they leave a mess everywhere they go. They don't realize how small this industry is. Right. How fast that they can burn out. Nope. By choice. Right? Like again, the ass you kick today, he's the ass. You may have to kiss tomorrow. Whether it's, a customer, whether it's a boss one way or another man, that s**t follows you. We're not just talking about, the secrets or the powers of the universe here. We're just like, our space is small. The industry is small. Especially if you niche out like we have. Right. Exactly. Yeah. 


You ever, do you ever get like other agencies asking about a prospective? 


It has happened. It has happened. And, and I felt really bad sometimes. I've I've always, so again, it's two tiers, right? I'm a nice guy. I'm I'm even if I'm an employee drives me nuts. Right. I, I'm not going to go badmouth. Oh however, if another agency calls and if it's the respectful, somebody higher up HR maybe, or head of HR or the owner, which has happened twice already, really owners of it. And they're like, Hey, you know what? We have, like just simple chat for the first five, 10 minutes just to be like catch up, same field, whatever, it's good. I'm like, so I'm looking at hiring this person. Now I have an obligation to somebody who's basically has basically set the whole boundaries. I'm in the same boat as you are. We got the same struggles, how did you find this employee? Cause now I need him to help me with my struggles. 


Right. And I had to be honest. Yeah. Right. This happened twice and it was just like, listen, very good at this. Unfortunately this is why they're not here anymore. You know? Again, they're like, oh, well I can change them. I can change. You can't change him. And they didn't change him. I was just honest at that point. And I didn't say don't hire him. I was just like, this is what we experienced. So you can do better. Good. Cause there's a lot of talent there that couldn't be honed. Sometimes people are their worst enemy in this space. Right. This is true. This is true. This kind of, this goes back to that whole, like you're not by yourself in this space, right. This isn't just about you. This isn't the me game. It's the we game when you're in, when you're like in this kind of environment, you've got to help everybody. 


It's not just the superstar. Yeah. Totally. Yeah, those are the people that do generally burn bridges. Yeah. 


Yeah. That's, and that's a very dangerous thing to do is, like if you're a freelancer and you're f*****g up at all, that word goes around and exactly like somebody's going to contact you or they're going to check your references and they're even going to call the places where you worked before. This is kind of, these are the kinds of things where you gotta do the right thing. Oh. 


And it even goes past that. Even, this one's happened to me as agency to clients. If you can imagine twice, two instances, both I knew had bad outcomes, one customer, I knew were never, ever going to get this customer again. They were being on, I made a promise and we were just struggling to get there with them. It was just like, you know what? Even if I do this, I you're not coming back anyway. So why am I bothering? The right thing to do was to just bite your tongue and just finish it. Because ultimately, even though they were Dixon, I knew they weren't coming back. They can't come back and say, you didn't deliver. Well, they can't say we didn't deliver. Yeah. Number one, number two. I remember when I did lose my cool and I regretted it, I lost it for a quick second. 


It was a project. It went bad. It was a website. We had bad communication with the customer. The CMS that we chose, wasn't our choice. We were working with us, but we agreed to use their content management system. No big mistake. Right. We promised we'd deliver and it was nothing but problems. Problems were all my frustration came. In the end I even said it to him. I said, you know what? I should just cancel this. Like, what, like, I don't even think I want to finish this job, just take it and go away. Right. And I stopped. They're like, really, do you really want to do that? And they were willing to take it. And it was just like, f**k, no. I was like, you know what? Wow, this was our mistake. We'll fix it. It literally cost us like 40 grand to fix it in the end. 


It was the right thing to do. That customer left go into another job and called Linux again, because we did the right thing to the right. We didn't burn that bridge. In the end, he was like, I know you were frustrated. I know you lost money, but you did what you were supposed to do. You made it right. And, and again, it's just, it costs a lot and okay. Granted, we never made that mistake after that. Now it's like, we won't work with, like certain types of content management systems. We know the problem behind them. We, we start developing our processes in place. Right. Again, we just hearing, no, we won't. We absolutely, I will sooner work away, walk away from something, you have your hands clean. Exactly. 


This is, this is the criteria that we want to work with. That this is going to be trouble because of your lesson that you've learned. You're like, no, this is not worth the job. That's not worth the 40 grand left on the table. So true. 


It's so true. Yeah. Yeah. That's a tough one though, because it's a great way to take that. So we did before. 


Good for you. What do you think if you'd said I'm taking I'm done with this crap. That would have been a, a nasty burn bridge that. 


She wouldn't have been burned for sure. When it came back to me. Right. Again, the space is small, but at the same time it carries on you. Right. Again, I'm a big believer that I'm a big believer. You put out, you get back what you put it back. All right. Again, and I genuinely believe that the universe is, it's fun. It's crazy as cookie and whatever you put out does come back sometimes to threefold. This is one of those things, like I'm constantly testing this theory and it seems right. The nature you are, the nicer s**t comes back. Yes. Right. And, and that was, I think there was, there's some pivotal times in your career that it's just like, wow, this is a decision that needs to be made here. Yeah. There is a right decision. And there's an unfortunate decision. More often than not, it's just like, what are you going to do here? 


Right. Like you can, I could've easily taken the unfortunate route and been like, screw you. I'm saving my ass. Yeah. That wasn't the right decision. 


Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. 


Wow. I'm a big believer of, I never, I work hard to not burn bridges. I will lose money before I will burn a bridge. Wow. Yeah. I'd rather always go. I want to make sure that when I am on my death bed, nobody can be like this person. 


Yes, exactly. Like you don't want everybody saying, oh man, he's such a cheap bastard or yeah. 


You can climbs over people in this. 


You want everybody to say that guy was f*****g awesome and a total joy to work. 


And that's what I want. And that's how I've heard. I've had people constantly like stepping over us, this, that like using us as just like a small little, step in their ladder in their career letter. They're the ones who end up suffering in the end man. There was a dude who totally used and abused us. It was like, he did it to us, but he did to everybody else to the point where he screwed over so many people in this town, he literally had nobody else. His reputation was so bad. He didn't leave the city. He left the f*****g Robbins. Okay. He literally did. He would three provinces away. I think the dude moved to like, PEI or Nova Scotia, but it was just like, you were the best sales person first time around the first time. By the time you came back, nobody wanted to know what the hell you were selling. 


They got burned so bad. Absolutely. Just and that's somebody who burned every single bridge they walked off. 


Oh s**t. That's a guy on his death bed is going to be like, 




Yeah. That's horrid. Yeah. Yeah. Canada is a big place. It's a pretty bizarre. 


Boy. You gotta. 


Go. You gotta go. Holy f**k. You. Must've done some bad shifts. Oh, damn. Wow. There's a great lesson to learn in that story about the 40 grand on the table. That is a, that is a brilliant, painful lesson, painful, but good for you for taking that high road, 


The high road. Through that, honestly, it was like, you take that bad experience that you turned into. Good. We put in certain processes. So it never happened again. And literally it never did happen again. Yeah, exactly. Right. Learned that, it probably, it hurt then, but it definitely didn't hurt, years later. Yeah. It didn't hurt when they came back afterwards and they said you did the right thing and that's why I'm back. Cause I know it's just, it's integrity. Right. Again, that's the one thing that is a hundred percent up to you. It's the integrity. Yeah. 


Right. They might've went to another agency that didn't have that kind of integrity and was like, what exactly did a bad thing to Z factor. 


Yeah. Yeah. No, that was good. Good. All right. Fine. Whatever, whatever. Right. Again, I'm getting touchy here again. 


Dude. You're dropping bombs. The universe is put out and get back. That's heavy. 


It's heavy though. Crazy philosophy. Goosebumps. Well, don't get too many goosebumps Sean, because onto my next one here, I don't need you to get precious. Alright. Grow a thicker skin, but don't become a callous Patty. 




That's great. There's way too much precious personalities in this space. This is not the space to have that you can't be precious. Nobody's going to sit there and be nice to you because you need to be sensitive. Nobody's working to try to like not hurt your feelings. This is a service industry where you got. 


Yeah, it really is. Yes. Yeah. If you've got a major client and you're f*****g it up and they're yelling at you and you're crying, 


That's not more, even worse. Crying is one thing. I can't say it ever seen that before. However, I've had clients cry to us kind of ridiculous. But not even that. It's like when you refute to new, you tell them they're wrong and you start getting defensive. Right. Precious. Isn't just about being a baby. That's true. Being a dad. It's also about being a Dick criticism is part of this space, right? Like literally criticism is totally, you need to have a thick skin. You do, but don't be bitter and assume that everybody's going to be an a*****e. Right. It's like, it's a fine line, but it definitely starts by, don't be precious. Right. And that goes right along with ego. Yes. 


Big time. Big time. If you take things far too personal, it's gonna eat away at you and that's not good for your health. Exactly what I mean, like you gotta be tough in this space, but like exactly. Like you said, you don't want to be, somebody says something to you and you clap back at them. Like, 


Exactly. Hey, ultimately, this is still a service industry and what we're creating isn't for us, it's for the customers, for the customer and it's for the customer's customer and whatever. Right. So it's not about us. It's not for us. So don't take it personally. Don't don't get precious. Don't get sensitive. Don't don't you don't or all the time, every time somebody gives you some certain criticism, you need to have thick skin because you are going to hear the stupidest s**t. Yeah. Like customers that like literally the s**t they say, just you scratch your head and you're like, are you serious? Did you really just ask me to make that 5% bigger or make that blacker, like stop black about serious. You will hear s**t that just a, let it get to you. You're going to lose it. You're going to implode. Yeah. 


Well it's not good, man. I was looking at it too. It's like, if somebody doesn't like something and they tell me, and if you have, if I got all offended or if I got precious and was mad and sulky and it doesn't do anybody any good. 


Well, and again, I think people take it to f*****g person. This is again, this isn't the youth show. Yes. Right there. They're not hiring you because often, sorry. Often maybe they like someone's style and they want that style for themselves. Fine. That's a different, that's a little different story. For the most part, what we're talking about here are people who get defensive about somebody doesn't like their logo work or this or that. The reality is it's like, you can't put your feelings in on that. Right. You're going to create something that you love, you're passionate about, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to follow you. You know, they're going to want that. They have a different view. Like you said, they have a different requirement to, for need. Maybe you didn't understand that brief. You can't take that s**t personally. Right? They're not slamming you saying you suck as a designer. 


They're just saying, it's not right. We need a pivot, a change we need, like whatever. Exactly. Sometimes it's kind of ridiculous. When you hear things like, can you make it 5% bigger or this, 


You gotta, you gotta look at that and say, okay, 


Fair enough. And you know what? This is, this is when it's like, they sometimes try to flex their muscle. Yes. They're the customer. They're like, I am paying this. I need some, this is a big change for the sake of change. Honestly, the easiest way to get around this is make the entire project collaborative. Right? You get, and I mean, we embrace collaborative all over this agency. Right? Our logo design process with our customers is a collaborative process. And then this way they get involved. You're great at every step, they're happy at every step they're involved. They pay more for that s**t. Right? They do. Often more times than not, there is no frustration because there's no surprises. Right. Right. Exactly. Because again, ultimately the s**t you create, you're handing over, right. It's not yours. It's theirs. So yes. Don't be precious about the feedback you get because it's there. 


That's right. 


That's exactly it. Yeah. You want to do the best you can. That means letting your ego go and doing that for the clients, 


Your ego go cover the coincidence. Wait a second. I think that might be the next one is segue. That was pretty good. Actually. You didn't mean that. 


No, I didn't have my glasses on. I couldn't see that. Oh, check yours. Check your ego at the door. Right. 


Oh my God. That's a big lesson. And that is a huge lesson. That literally goes right in line with what we just talked about. Right. It's it's not the you show, it's not about you and your ego should have nothing to do with this. Right. Again, we've all seen those superstar designers out there that are all about themselves and again, maybe people hire them, almost more as a they're hiring the name for just the little, but they're not going back. These aren't the people that they basically have lifelong contracts with. Right. Like they literally use them. It's designed prostitution. It's like, honestly, it's like, they're pimping their name out. It just, oh, they don't want my design. They just want my name. And if that's what they want. Well then if that's what the designer with the ego wants. The reality is, I mean, again, the career span of these kinds of designers is generally, 


It's very, they burn out. Right? Exactly. Like a really high points and very low points, ? 


Yeah. Like, cause you can't make that. Nobody wants to work with that kind of designer. Right. 


It's too much work. I think ego is just like, oh geez. Cause you have no say in it, that person is just going to do whatever the f**k they want to do. You're going to gush over it because what, because of that. 


Absolutely. What sucks is working with that kind of person, the reality is that person is not going to do every aspect of a job. No. And that's, what's hard. If their ego is like, it's so much, nobody wants to work with them, but they can't that person can't get all the s**t done themselves. They're not in everything. They're not the ones that are coming up with the design, doing the CSS, doing the code and getting that up. They're not the ones that are doing the logo plus doing the brain style guys. Plus, I mean, they have a team that works in redo that and what, that teams, they don't put up with that kind of s**t. Right. Cause again, who's this about the ego designer or is it about, the bigger picture? Yeah, 


Exactly. I think a lot of the greats, if you're really worth your salt as a designer, you are taking stuff from other people, like not taking it, like ideas and suggestions and things like that. I absolutely can't imagine any of these screenshots. Yes, exactly. I can't imagine any of these great designers living in or working in a vacuum where it's just their ideas. They have to have influence as well. The people around them, Justin things. You're like, f**k yeah, Jean, that's a great idea kind of thing, right? 


Yeah. Yeah. What, even the best of designers out there, like, the Paul Rand's Minnelli's, they may have led the design projects. They had teams behind them doing the execution. Exactly. Right. Again, if they were total d***s, the teams wouldn't be sticking around. That's key. Yeah. Right. Yeah. You're right. Totally true. True. Yeah. You can learn a lot from someone like this, but the thing is, if it's just about you, if that's it, I mean your team's going to bounce, that's it. They're going to just use you. It's like being a design bras, the dude that use my name and then just move on, use me and abuse me. Yeah. No egos. Honestly, this space is hard for the ego. Like, you walk into a place and if you start p*****g all over everybody and making the call for everything where you shouldn't be from, the Pressman to the web designer to like everybody in between, nobody's gonna to want to work with you. 


Right. Exactly. 


That, that. 


Just does not important part about being a designer. Right? Absolutely. All right. This one, I love this next one. I love ready. So lessons learned. Yep. Get used to the timelines and learn to love them. Seriously. Learn to love the timeline. This is not it. This is not the space. If you, if you're too chill, if you expect a nice, slow pace, this is not the industry. Nothing. It seems like every request is asked for yesterday. Yes. It's a yesterday economy. 


Yes. That's. 


Exactly what our past podcasts. No, but it's true. I mean, again, it's, at first you get really agitated over them. Holy s**t. They needed it by, they only giving me two days and this person's only giving me three, how am I going to get everybody's work done? Yeah, dude, you can fight this. If you want to make it last yeah. Just learn to embrace it. And just the right boss, you know, 


It's kind of, it's a window to hone your skills. What I mean, labs, I worked at a newspaper, a daily newspaper, and that was every day there was a new product going AA. It was like f*****g Benet was always on. It was always on. So to learn inside of those parameters. Yeah. To me, it was pivotal. I found that really challenging. Yeah. It was tough. Yup. Yup. Yup. It's now somebody, a client gives me three days. I'm like, s**t. 


I know. Right. The reality is one thing that people don't realize is the longer, the timeline doesn't mean your work's going to better. This is exactly it, dude. It's just like, honestly, this is Robinson. What is it? Parkinson's law. Parkinson's law. Right. That basically the time stretches to the work stretches to the time. Right. Somebody was to give us four weeks to get a job done. S**t. We could get that same thing done in one week. Yep. And that's true. Why they'll give you four weeks. Yep. We often don't start until the third week. Right. And it's true. It's just the reality is it's just, we live in, we work in this really fast paced industry and everybody always needs it yesterday. Right. And you know, you can't fight this. This is just part of the deal. This is part of the industry it's of the space. 


I do appreciate it when customers do give us more timelines. I do, it allows us to schedule more s**t in between. The reality is when you get as good as we are, or as experienced as we are, right. We know timelines. We know how long it takes to create a webpage from beginning to end. Right. We know what the logo process looks like beginning to end. Right. Giving us that extra space or not sure I can fit in more jobs, but the reality is we are in charge of our own destiny when it comes to our timelines. Right. So, get used to the fact that most of the time everything's going to have a very tight timeline. Right. And just thrive off that s**t. 


Yes, exactly. Learn to live with that. Not generally, you don't have those luxuries of the month jobs. You know what I mean? Even, even if you had that luxury, 


Jeez. It hurts us. Sometimes customers post the request for like four weeks away and here's like two hour job. Like, no. Can you cancel that and give it back to us the week before you need it. 


In our launch list program. We, we just ignore it. Geez. Let's do a month from now, whatever it hurts and more than anything, it does. It really is. Yeah. It's, if you're working under that assumption that it's, the deadlines are super tight. Yeah. That's good. 


Yeah. You learn how to make better decisions. You learn how to make quicker decisions. You're not humming and hawing and decisive blue or you're not making no, exactly. You can make a call and you get better at making the right call. It's like a muscle, like a brief 100%. 


Just like, oh, okay. 


I believe that this works. 


Okay. We'll go with that right now. 


I believe that a hundred percent dude. That's a good one. Yeah. I love that. Right. Honestly, I laugh now, and this is the one common thread amongst all designers. I think everybody can appreciate the fact that this whole space seems to be, a yesterday economy. Everybody wants things yesterday. Yesterday. Yeah. Embrace the s**t. Lovings. 


Embrace it. Yeah. All right. Good it. Speaking of s**t. Oh, that was horrible. What's important. Yes. Giving a s**t. 


That's a huge lesson that awesome kind of grows and grows that intro. I didn't know where you're going with that one, but life lesson, I guess the eighth lesson that were talking about is literally giving a s**t, giving a s**t. 


Right. Terrible. What you do, right? Yeah. Like, 


Like, just because how many of these like work together, right. Just because somebody, who's your idea, even if a customer, poo-poos your idea. Right. You get all sensitive about it because they just slammed your ego. It doesn't mean you give up and you give them what they want and just do a half as Chung. Exactly. Right. You're still, you've still been hired to give a s**t and finish that job for the customer to the best of your abilities, whether it's the second revise or the 22nd. Oh, I hate that. Trust me, man sucks. It does. It really sucks, but still it's a necessary a necessity. It kind of goes back to that. Don't burn bridges. Right that's exactly. Again, you will get those projects that are on revision 12, just go on. Right. It's easy to get frustrated, but you have to give a s**t, right? 


Nothing frustrates me where I've had customers in the, or I've had employees in the past and they'd be like, oh, I don't care. I don't give a s**t. They can have whatever they want. Right. I'm just like, no, you have to give a s**t. You have to give a s**t. Otherwise you're not going to care about the outcome. You're not going to care that customer has, they've got their own s**t that they're dealing with. Right. They've got their own clients. They've got their own deadlines. They have their own bosses. You can't, be that broken cog in that whole chain, because then you're worse than everybody else. We have to get the f**k. We really do. Right. I dunno. That's a perish one. It totally. Yeah. This is, this is definitely one of those, you do that in and it reflects poorly on you. Totally, dude. 


Totally. You look like the a*****e. Honestly, if you're just in it for a paycheck, don't be a graphic designer. Not the job being a designer is about giving a s**t about the end user. You have to give a s**t Zack, right. Again, even if it's not a gem project and it doesn't have an ideal timeline, like, I mean, these all work together, hand in hand, but really you can't lose that passion that love for what you do. You have to give a s**t. You do so important. So important. Give a s**t. Yeah. Really? All right. All right. Okay. I like this one. Oh yeah. Okay. We're almost done guys. We're almost done. This one is a really important life lesson that we've learned as being a graphic designer. So good. Learn to shut the hell up seriously on so many levels, boy. Right? Like number one, I learned to tell, I talk a lot. 


I do talk a lot, but when I listen a lot yet, that's the key. Yeah. Right. You have to learn how to shut up. Right. Cause it's not just about you. You have to learn how to shut up and listen. Yeah. Right. And, and this goes with you to customers, but it also goes to you with peers. If you're in the environment, you to your boss, nothing frustrates me more that it's like, you hire somebody new, you give them a chance. You start training them up and you ask them for, some work they come back and you try to give them feedback only to have them disagree or defend it. And it's just like, no. You said you're here to learn. Yeah. Okay. Use more white space here. Well, I felt that it already had a lot of white space and newsflash it doesn't, it looks like s**t. 


Right. Or, change this here at an image like this, the customer is all about, the event, it's an event. So, the customer wants pictures of people at an event. Well, I kind of felt that they actually were wrong and we shouldn't do Jude. Like you just have to shut up and listen for a second. Like, it's nothing is more frustrating than. 


Yes. That is really bad because that, to me, just, you're just making more work for yourself. Cause you're going to present your idea and you could explain it to the cows, come home, 




The client didn't want that. I don't want that. At least at the very least. Now I, and back me up on this one, I think we, this is kind of one of our principles, like the three rule, right? You that you have one that the customer wants to be as close as possible. Yep. Yep. You got one that's up there, but still. 


The wildcard, 


The wildcard. And then you got the, 


The really one, you got your concepts, they want what you want and the wild card in the wild. Right. And those are the three concepts. Generally we try to present people. Right. You can kind of gauge where their interest lies. Right. Again, it's like, you can't learn what they want, if you don't learn to shut up. Exactly. Right. And that's the frustrating part, honestly. Like it's just, you have to listen deeper to the stuff that's actually being set. Yes. Right. If you don't learn how to shut up, you can't eat. Even me in all fairness, often I learned more by speaking quietly or by just taking a pause and listening, right. Yeah. Shutting up. Yeah. Right. I think everybody needs to learn how to shut up. Cause again, this kind of goes back to the ego. This kind of goes back to you. Don't have all the answers. 


Right. Really the customer is in charge in the end. Right. If you want to make the best job for the customer, not get precious and don't let your ego get fragile, then really you need to learn how to shut up. Listen to what they're asking for. Listen to the response that they have when you present. Don't just listen to defend. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Right. Shut up and listen to them. Listen to understand not to respond. Yes. Right. Honestly, I think that's a huge thing that we've learned many times. Right. Unfortunately I think a lot of younger designers are so busy trying to defend themselves in the work. They're talking too much. Not listing enough. Yes. 


Yeah. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Right. Two years, 


One, most for a reason, you should be listening twice as many times. See? Wow. So learn to shut up. Yes. Last but not least last but not. 


Least last but not least one. It. 


Just keeps coming back over and over again. 


When I, when I saw this, I was like, I laughed my ass off because it's so true. It's just like one of those gov, 


This is the whole, this is more of a life's lesson as a designer. You know, just the lesson in general. Yeah. 


Always good to hear. Always add more white space, 


Add more white space. 






F*****g true. Right. I know. You're just like, 


That just doesn't go for, like graphic design or UX design, right. To that's even in. 


Life in life, you could always. 


Use more padding, more space and how you approach everything. Right. Crowd, everything so much. Give yourself some space. Now back to the design though, back to the design. It's true. Because white space is transformative. Yes. Okay. To a design it's it just naturally brings your eye. It makes your, I traveled to the areas. You want it to focus on it, groups, things together, it helps with hierarchy. It helps define the hierarchy. It helps define how your eye travels to pieces, whether it's a website, whether it's a designed print, even a logo, use of voice piece is so important. 


Oh my God. It's just absolutely crazy. That's why I find this is really funny because sometimes you still have to be reminded of this because a lot of times the clients are gonna tell you, huh? Can you just make that mobile bigger or something like that? And it was like, you know, 


Again, you defend them when you can defend it and just say, by adding more space around it draws the eye to exact making it bigger. Doesn't necessarily mean people are going to see it. That's right. Right. That's key, like learn how to defend white space, be a white space defender. Right. Literally learn how to work with it because this is something that I think you can keep tweaking and tweaking your entire life. 


Really believed. Oh totally. You never really finalized with that concept. That's why it keeps coming back because yes, it's never really, it's not a, it's not one of those, like a hard and fast rule. Like it's not a tangible thing. It's, it's a thing that is just the thing, , 


I couldn't have said it better myself, Sean. 


Right? Yeah. 


It's true. Very true. It's one of the, it's one of the hardest things to learn. I think it's one of those things that everybody can easily do. You get into it, but it does take years to learn. And, and I envy some of the earlier younger designers who get it or some of them get it really quick and exact good for you. Because even for me, it was because our style is very bold and in your face. It's very big, it's hard to figure out how to use white space, but it doesn't necessarily mean physically keeping white space around your items. It's just, it's balanced. Right. And that's, and that's what it's about. Right? Even David Carson, who's, his stuff is almost anti design and it's layer on top of layer montage, this and that. Every one of his pieces are beautifully, have beautiful white space around it. 


If you look at it's intentional. They're eyes traveling through this and you think it's not by accident, right? Yeah. 


Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Which is ironic that guy is aware of white space and just brilliant. Brilliant. That's a trick. 


That's a good one. All right. We got a pretty decent this year. Life lessons, number one, they can't all be gems. Number two. Don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun in this space. Number three, stop comparing yourself to others. There's always going to be somebody better and that's okay. Number four, build bridges. Don't burn them. Right? Number five, don't get pressured. Grow a thicker skin. Just don't become a catalyst. That's right. Check your ego at the door. Get used to timelines. Get used to tight timelines and love them. Give a s**t, learn to shut the hell up and last but not least always add more. 


White space, more white space. So. 


This, this is our list of things that we've learned. I think our top list is a designer, but by all means, I want, we want you guys to, share us yours, shares other lessons. Let's get this ginormous list together of everything, honestly. We'll post this on our website. Well, I I'd love to hear some of the other, cause we've heard some pretty crazy stuff. We hit it. This was pretty initially it was pretty intimidating and everything. We started reading. These are ours, but we'd like to get a giant list of everybody's together. Please hit us up on her website, mango drop us a line, drop us a comment, hit us up on her Instagram, following up these posts, right? We've got a very active Instagram. We talked to our, we talked to our angry designers. We have great conversations with good laughs. By all means, hit us up on there. 


It's always a right. Please by all means, leave us a review. Okay. Hit us up on apple podcast. Hit us up on Spotify. Drop us a line and leave us a review. Show us some love so we can show love to everybody else all over the world, right? 


Yeah, exactly. Cool, 


Man. Nice. 


It was really good that. 


You guys were able to get some cool stuff out of this. Yes. Yeah. 


Yeah. I think, I think it, these are, yeah, these are not hard and fast rules by any stretch. There's no particular order that we have in these. These are just some of these were the top ones of what? 40 years we had a s**t done. 


We were combined her. I don't even want to talk about we combiners she's older than most cities. Oh, that'd be sad. All right. That being said, my name is Masimo. My name is Sean. 


Stay creative. 





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