10 Types of Designers You Want to Avoid

Articles July 23, 2014

We are all aware of many client horror stories. In fact, there is even a website called “Clients From Hell” dedicated for it. A place where designers alike share their outrageous client experiences such as font substitution (“Use Comic Sans.”), page layout (“Fill ALL white space! I want my money’s worth.“), and logo enlargement (“Make the logo bigger!“).

Those are just some of the most cringe worthy things you’ll hear from clients. But what about horrible designer stories from a client’s point-of-view?

We believe that there are designers with terrible characteristics and behaviors. They may have bad habits seen on their working styles, personalities, or thought processes. Each and every designer offers a different approach to the same project. In this article, we listed down some types of designers you want to avoid for your next design project as a client. If you’re a designer, you also may as well read through them and try not to be fit into any one or more types.

1. The God


Designers of this type are those who believe they know everything about everything. Because of their experience, they think they’ve seen it all and that they can handle any situation. These designers deify themselves for their wisdom that makes them mentors and inspiration to young designers. People will often avoid them because they think they’re always right and everyone else is wrong.

2. The Safe-Player


These are the designers that don’t stand out much or not at all. Designers of this type have basic skills and they usually produce “okay” designs instead of daring to take risks. Clients often avoid this type of designers because they’d rather choose a fully qualified designer that can deliver a project much better and produce high quality outputs.

3. The Perfectionist


Perfectionist designers are often obsessive with their projects. These designers have neat and organized work spaces. They hunger for perfection on all things and they won’t stop if one thing is out of place. Although being a perfectionist is good, dealing with them can also be a challenge. People tend to avoid them because they sometimes ignore instructions and prefer to do things according to what their will tells them to do. Their flawlessness may also cause them to see themselves as superior to other designers.

4. The Turtle


Designers of this type are those that are extreme nervous wrecks. They envision negative feedback from their clients prior to actually presenting the project. These designers totally lack confidence, they think that everything they’ll do is bad and people won’t be happy about it. They are insecure about their talents and are often hiding under the comfort of their shells, a characteristic similar to that of a turtle. They are content to work behind the scenes and let others to take the appreciations for a well-delivered project. Clients avoid this type of designers because they may lack the necessary self-esteem to push themselves to their limits, and deliver an excellent job in spite of their abilities.

5. The Hoarder


This type of designers collects a couple of projects simultaneously. They forget to set priorities and often have many ongoing work-related, freelance, and personal projects at the same time. These designers have no balance and need to work on their time management. You may want to avoid this type of designers because they tend to not deliver their projects on time. The quality of their product is also affected because their attention and creativity is not focused one task at a time. The output or result is usually substandard and will only be a waste of money, time, and effort.

6. The Copycat


A designer of this type tend to surf the net for design inspiration or pegs, but he/she just end up copying (sometimes stealing ) designs that they’ve browsed through. A good long look through their portfolios will reveal familiar design styles or even works that you may have seen somewhere else before. You certainly want to avoid them because they are simply cheaters and unfortunately unoriginal. These designers should learn to do their own research, and use trends without duplicating existing works to prevent a bad reputation.

7. The Pretentious


Designers of this type are show-offs. They love bragging about skills they don’t actually have. These designers pretend that a design project can be easily done and that they can deliver it in no time. Simply put, the pretentious designer “talk the talk” and “dress the part”, but can’t produce high standard design work. People often avoid this type of designers because they are basically fakers, and they’re just killing their careers by pretending to be good.

8. The Slug


These designers are the “lazy” type. They tend to get very sluggish and this is the main cause of why their projects are often delayed. The “slug” is the opposite of the “flash” designer who breeze through design projects without missing deadlines or even finishing ahead of time. Being a slug is not bad as long as you produce good work instead of sacrificing quality to speed. Clients avoid this type of designers because as we’ve mentioned, they mostly don’t meet deadlines and will only waste time and money due to their constant procrastination.

9. The Soloist


Designers of this type are not good in project collaboration. Although working on a collaborative project, they think that their designs are absolutely better than the rest at all times. These designers don’t listen to feedback and instead of attracting clients, they further drive them away. “Their ways are a tad superior to everyone else’s and they will talk until everyone sees it that way as well.” - xheight.co.uk

10. The Flash


A designer of this type is a fast worker. They deliver projects quickly, often ahead of deadlines, and present to clients on time. Being a “flash” designer lets you accomplish several or more tasks than that of a “slug”. Although having the ability to work fast is a plus, clients often avoid them because they can sometimes produce substandard output“Haste makes waste.”


Each of these types has their own positive and negative traits. The question is who will deliver the best and who would you avoid? If you’re a designer and you found yourself fitting into one of these types, take a good look on your working styles and try to become the designer that clients want to hire.

We’re pretty sure we’ve forgotten other “Types of Designers You Want to Avoid”, so feel free to share your thoughts through the comments box below!

Sources: medium.comwebdesignerdepot.comgraphicdesignblog.org1stwebdesigner.com,

Credits: Patrick Jude Ilagan (Illustration), Gian Bautista (Animation)

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Gian is a multimedia designer from Manila, Philippines. He specializes in graphic design, illustration, and photography. Follow his works on Facebook, Twitter, Behance and Tumblr.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/i_always_bring_my_camera/ Roland Del Mar

    So in general, theirs no perfect designer, and every clients should know that.

    • Alexander


  • sokalegga

    Most designers exhibit one or more of these characteristics. This article is as useful as selling refridgerators to Eskimos

  • http://nodws.com/ Nodws

    So avoid everyone including yourself? #fail

  • jakesdev

    Every point on this has a counter point, and some are even ranked on the the same list. I agree, it’d be bad if you had a majority of these traits, but every designers going to have at least 1 or 2 of them. I can admit I fall into the Soloist category when it comes to my office work. Not because I think I’m better than everyone, I’m always desperate for knowledge, but because no one else in our office is a designer by trade (except our intern). It’s a cut & paste app business, filled with under payed workers & unsatisfying work to be done. Due to this, I’m the only designer there who’s passionate about making everything look the best possible in a reasonable time. So when I collaborate our styles are completely different, which results in waisting time to re-do the work rather than me doing it from the beginning. If I worked at a design firm, no doubt I’d LOVE to collaborate, I’m hungry for interaction with other passionate people & learning new skills all the time. Sadly working in-house can produce a lot of these “bad designer” symptoms, because it’s quite depressing.

  • Richie Josephs


  • Ankit Agarwal

    i think i am The Perfectionist one.

  • Nancy

    me the copy cat ………………… ;)

  • Zarko Jovic

    Useless article…

  • arungaian

    According to this a good designer is a dead one!

    • harishchouhan

      well said

    • Versie

      You’re wrong.
      It’s the good version: a good client is a dead one! ;-)

  • Cristian Franco

    It is difficult not to be identified with at least one of these types of designers, circumstances take you to be one of them, whether customers or the amount of work.

  • http://foto-factory.dk/ Martin Bay

    So who’s left?? :)

  • michael thomson

    I guess I fall into all these categories at some point in the week, what does that make me? I’ll be the “Shapeshifter” one moment I’m sluggish, next I’m flashing through work. Often I’ll be trying to play it safe by being a perfectionist. On a monday it’s all about hoarding jobs, then turtling at the end of the week, but copycatting after the tenth revert. Pretentious to clients and a soloist with my freelance work. That just leaves acting like a ‘god’ when I comment on weblogs.

  • richard

    you could abstract these roles of persons to every other profession / even without any profession you will find these guys – for a god reason – humans are like this. and : show me one client what does not have one of these attitudes as well ? so whats the point ?

  • nagash

    just love the illustrations on this article

  • aditya ramon

    So i’m guessing you’re THE GOD one….seems like you know everything….

  • Mark

    You forgot to mention the type of designer that stereotypes other designers and spends thier time working on articles like this one.

  • http://blog.kabal.co Carlos Santín

    I prefer to help them and make them realize some of their faults because all we humans are not perfect. Most of us have some characteristics listed above and that doesn’t make us evil professionals.