So, you found yourself in the presence of a graphic designer? Congratulations! (or apologies?) I’m sure you’ve noticed we can be a little odd and neurotic. Our habits tend to get so deeply ingrained we have a hard time turning them off, and that can get pretty irritating for the innocent bystanders we call friends and family.

If it’s any consolation, we can’t really help it, but we wish we could. On behalf of all of us, I would like to formally apologize for the following.

Making your grocery trip last three hours.

We love packaging. We know better, of course, but it doesn’t matter. No matter how many times I tell myself I’m going to run in the Fresh Market, grab two overpriced avocados, something for dinner and be back in the car in twenty minutes, it’s never going to happen. For instance, did you know there are upwards of thirty different varieties of olive oil in some grocery stores? And please don’t get me started on the wine section.

If we’re being frank here, a well-designed package is meant to trick people. Using appealing colors, negative space and enticing wording, brands are able to make you purchase their products without even considering why.

You would think designers would be immune to this magical visual sorcery, but in fact the opposite is almost always true. We’re obsessed with it. A regular person with good sense might appreciate a nice package and move on to a familiar product or a better value, but we aren’t regular people with good sense. Even if we aren’t buying the product, we’re going to spend a significant amount of time admiring it from all angles before we move a couple feet to the right to check out the next cool thing.

Ruining your lunch with a nasty menu critique.

You didn’t want to spend two hours of your Saturday morning making fun of spelling errors and bad type choices over mimosas? Because nothing will kill your designer friend’s appetite like a horrible looking menu.

The main problem here is that it’s REALLY imperative for menu designs be functional and easy to navigate. If I’m flipping through a magazine and see an ad I don’t like, no problem, I’ll just turn to the next page. When there’s a two foot tall, Papyrus covered menu standing between me and food, that’s a huge problem.

It’s especially frustrating when you’re in a place with amazing food and great service, and they seem to be completely blind to issues with the ONE piece of literature they ask every single person who comes through the door to look at. I know they say “print is dead,” but restaurants need to realize their menus are getting more action than Leo DiCaprio on a yacht full of supermodels.

Complaining about things that mean nothing to you.

I wish I would have started a Tumblr page years ago of pictures of my mother’s face every time I’ve given her specific details about a stressful workday. It would be 300 photos of the exact same confused and probably bored face. I’m assuming people in other professions feel this way too, but how many people cancel important holiday plans because “Photoshop quit unexpectedly”?

It’s nice of you to let us vent when our clients ask us to “make it pop!” and “be more like Apple.” We know it seems dramatic, and maybe you don’t fully understand why it’s not ok for someone to send a vector file via fax, but we really just need to vent. We’d vent to our other designer friends or coworkers, but they probably have the exact same stories, so how would we possibly get a word in?

So thank you, friends, for letting us annoy hang out with you. Hopefully our creativity and keen eyes make us worthwhile companions in the end.

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