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The Best and Worst Things About Design

Something I like to ask my upperclass students to do at the start of a semester is to begin thinking about graphic design and their place in it from a critical perspective. I ask them “what is the best thing about graphic design?” and “what is the worst thing about graphic design?” and pin these answers up on the wall for discussion. Some of the similarities that live on both sides of the list are interesting—not to mention how much I disagree with some of them, both as things and which side of the list they appear on. Here are some of their answers for your consideration:

The Best:

The limitless possibilities of communicating ideas visually.


Freedom of creativity.

Working on my own.

I am finding work almost all the time, and it pays really well.

Communicating a message to masses of people.

Creating color palettes.

Pretty much all the ingredients/materials are on the computer.

Not having to dress up for work.

Openness/media, ideas, stuff.

Create, beautify, making, think outside the box.

Make people see/wonder.

Being able to communicate with your designs.

Telling clients their ideas are stupid.

Being able to spot poor design when you see it.

Making people happy.

Having people support what you do.

Doing homework in bed.

The Worst:


Working on someone else’s schedule.

One word as their idea, loss of ideas.

Having someone ask you to use clipart.

Smartass clients that think they are a designer.

People always using it as a reason/excuse.

Every piece of bad design bothers me to the point of anger.

When the computer screen starts to hurt your eyes.

Every time anyone has computer problems, you have to help them.

Dumbass bossy clients with bad taste.

Miscommunication with clients.


My Asian relatives think I’m going to starve after I graduate, no respect.

Be overlooked/not appreciated.


Making people scratch their heads, and then they don’t say anything.

© Mitch Goldstein /