May 02, 2012

The Day I Became a Design Snob

Photo by Fleur de Lys Blazquez (humor added by me)
Do you ever have those moments in life that make you realize how much you've changed? You suddenly see yourself as this whole new person, but in a good way? I had that happen to me last Friday and wanted to share a little story with you guys today.

Let me take you back to November 2010 when I first enrolled at school.

The only design programs I knew were bits and pieces of Photoshop Elements and my Microsoft Publisher. You could say Publisher was my first love...

I was introduced to it when I started my first real job as a real estate office secretary. I redesigned all of the flyer templates they were using and was soon in high demand for my flyer-makin' skills.  It was great practice for me, and set me up to design lots of higher-end marketing materials at my next job. I was convinced I could conquer any design job with Publisher.

When I left my job to start school I not only had to get used to using a Mac, but also had to familiarize myself with an entirely new set of confusing programs. It took lots of learning, an enormous amount of patience, and several fits of full on rage, but a year and a half later I can officially consider myself a designer; picky, pretentious, and amazed by my own genius.

The moment happened at work on Friday when my boss asked me to put together a quick flyer for a charity event that night.

I responded with a quick, "No problem!" and immediately wondered what program I would use. I figured I could throw something together in Publisher like old times... how bad could it be?

With the remaining hour of my shift ticking by, I tried to get situated at his unfamiliar laptop and started rummaging through the Publisher templates.

"Ugh, these are hideous!" I thought to myself.

After moments of searching I gave up all hope on finding a decent template and decided to use a blank canvas.

I started randomly tossing some images and text around the page, but everything in my mind was telling me this was wrong. Every click of the mouse was making me frown a little bit more, every non-working hot key made my face a little hotter, and with each hesitant look around for a simple tool I became more and more annoyed.

"THIS PROGRAM EFFIN' SUCKS!" my mind silently screamed. "Where's my tools? My precious panels? And my layers! WHERE ARE MY LAYERS?!" I angrily shouted at Publisher, who now resembled an old, fat, and balding version of my high school crush.. did I honestly think it would be the same?

I couldn't do it.... I couldn't bare spending one more second in that program.

"Get me OUT of here!" my subconscious begged. I listened.

I went to my boss and explained the flyer would turn out much better and would be done in less time if he allowed me to go home early and create it on my laptop.

He chuckled at my snobbery, and after seeing I was dead serious, he nodded his head in agreement.

Thank the LORD.

Show time... time to prove myself to my boss who I've been struggling to impress for the last few months. I rushed home on an intense caffeine high, flung through my door, plopped down with my laptop, turned on Pandora, and after an hour spent with my nose in my Mac and Adobe CS5 at my fingertips, I sent a pretty PDF full of custom shapes, colors, blending modes, and perfectly aligned typography for him to review.

"WOW! This looks GREAT!" he exclaimed over the phone.

"You bet your ass it looks great..." I snorted in my head.

After I calmed down from the rush of adrenaline, I wondered when I had become such a design snob? I've gone from being a PC lover to an Mac enthusiast... from a Publisher genius to an Illustrator junkie... from Clip Art user to Vector creator.

I know one thing... if being a design snob is wrong, I don't want to be right!

* * * * *

Have you ever been snooty about your profession? 
Do you find it annoying or motivating? 

Hmmmm... do tell :)


  1. I'm not there yet but I hope to be someday. It seems you really love what you do and wouldn't want to produce anything less than the best! Graphic Design seems like such an awesome career!

  2. I don't know if I'm very snobby... Or maybe I'm an opposite snob. I hate Macs with a passion and hate Adobe too.
    While I admit they are great for design, I'm too much of a DIY-er to want to deal with a Mac or how it's nearly impossible to update a Mac and you basically have to take it back to them or buy a new one if you want it fixed. I'm a PC girl all the way, and honestly, if you want to do more than design and actually do development too, I'd recommend a PC.
    Adobe I wouldn't mind except they charge such a ridiculous amount for their software. I'll stick with GIMP as it does 99% of what I need and is free and you don't have to shell out your firstborn every few years for a new version. I do use Illustrator because I have yet to find a decent vector program for free.
    I think I'm much more of a snob when it comes to web stuff--I love WordPress and while I make Blogger templates, I can't stand not having the control that I have with WordPress. Not to mention all the SEO and plugins and awesomeness that WordPress has and Blogger doesn't... I kind of see Macs and Blogger as similar--user friendly, can look really pretty, but you don't have nearly as much control!
    Maybe I'm just a control freak. haha

    Sorry if that sounded mean or catty or I don't know what... I think it's great you've found what you like, and that's important in our line of work! I've found what I like too, it just happens to not be what most designers like. I blame it on being a code geek first and a designer second!

  3. I guess another thing that I'm a snob about is the lack of functional design--which I wouldn't mention except your site is fine! haha

    But how a lot of web designers make really pretty websites where you can't find navigation or there's a giant header and you have to scroll way down to get to the content, or the blog is way too wide for most readers. I recently saw a designer getting a lot of praise for a somewhat unique blog design she did, which admittedly was really cool looking, but it took me ages to find anything on the blog because she had rearranged things so much. While I appreciate creativity, if people can't use it easily, it's just going to hurt the blogger.

    I have a hard time taking a designer seriously if I go to their blog and it's poorly arranged. I don't care how cool your design is, function first!

    Okay, that's enough snobbery! lol

  4. I've only just finished my 'foundation' year of my degree (year 0) and I'm already pretty in love with my MAC and Adobe CS5, though I self taught myself a lot of Photoshop and pretty much had to teach my college class how to use it hehe.

    I loved this post, me and my class often have a little giggle about nasty fonts, hope I can be as good with the programs as you. The design of your blog always makes me smile, so clean and such pretty colours.

  5. oh my gosh!! This is nearly the story of my life!! I used publisher to make all the flyers for our campus events and felt very awesome....then I met a mac & took a graphic design class. CS4 & I didn't get along very well, we still are a little bumpy, but man on man I'd probably punch Publisher too if I had to use it.

    I really enjoyed this post. I feel we are connected now lol and you are so right: fat balding version of my highs chool crush = Publisher. love it!

  6. I don't have a reponse other than to say that every time, and I mean ever time I read your blog, tears come to my eyes because of how wonderfully you write. Yor blog makes me laugh as well sweet daughter of mine. You make me ponder life and love. It's crazy...keep doing what you love!!! And I will always be bragging about you...just canMt help it, you're my daughter and I love you love you!!! Momma

  7. I feel like I'm the only one who knows how to use a computer at my job... and my boss relies on me so heavily. I just wish I got paid accordingly. :P Loved this post. Great story. :)

  8. I know how you feel. Adobe programs are so hard to learn, but once you do nothing can compare. It's crazy! I think I can spend all day on illustrator or photoshop just playing around and trying new things.

    And as far as MAC vs PC, once you go MAC you never go back. lol

  9. You crack me up. I had a client come in last week and ask me to recreate a flyer I had done in illustrator in publisher... what the?! Seriously. I hate publisher. I HATE IT! I hated everything about it.

  10. I am thankful for design snobs - because they teach me what looks good and what doesn't.

    Also I "use" (attempt to use) the PC version of Illustrator - but my dream is to own a mac. Are the functions that much different PC vs. MAC for Abode products?

  11. Love this story Kristen! I feel you heart & soul. I should have known graphic design was for me when I started having more fun creating the Worksheets than teaching them (back when I taught 4th grade). ha!

  12. What design program are you doing? Is it a graduate program? And is it in-class or online? I'm just curious because I want to learn all these things and I'm not sure what the best way to go about it is! Did you major in something else in undergrad? Please do share your story! :)

  13. I'm a not so closet design snob :D

    I know I'm not that great as far as the tier goes in designers and developers but there are some things that I know are a bad idea when it comes to design and I may over snob about those things from time to time.

    In my head mostly.

    I also don't believe a program makes a designer... but they can sure as crap break them. Publisher may you rest in peace in my rejected pile <3

    I'm cleaning up old code at my work for a migration to a new cms and by gosh it's hurt my heart a little to see all the really bad code in there.

  14. I love sometimes looking back at when I 1st started my blog. My gosh has my writing and photography skills evolved!!! I am a total snob now haha.

  15. There's nothing wrong with using published on a PC, but if your a professional designer working 8 hours a day you really do need the power of a mac pro and a professional software suite like adobe CS.

  16. LOL. I totally get this. I am nowhere near where you are, design talent wise, but after you learn photoshop, boy is it fun! And it is a neverending learning process!

  17. Hahahah... I totally just related to the image you posted at the top of the post. I hate use of bad fonts, gah. You need to be a perfectionist in design though - you want to get it exactly right because your next client is going to base it off your previous work! And of course you want to be proud of what you've done.

  18. that picture you used is so hilarious! :)
    i don't remember the last time i used Publisher but it will always be my first love. it was my go-to program back in college. but now, thank God for Photoshop! creative possibilities are endless. amazing post by the way. :)

  19. Bahahaha. You're too cute! I'm a huge Apple fan...but am clueless about design programs. I've stumbled my way through photoshop in the past, but realized it probably has too many features for me, which make it slower and more laborious than necessary...haha. {read: user error.}

  20. I've worked in law for 6 years and find myself being a law snob in class. It comes easily/naturally to me so I find myself jumping to frustration when other people are confused by something so easy. Care to knock me down a few pegs?

  21. Hahaha I'm reading this as I'm watching illustrator tutorials right now! Great story! I've never really got into publisher too much, but we definitely need our layers, our blending modes, and everything! Great post :)


  22. Oh sister, I am so there...have been for years!

  23. "You bet your ass it looks great!" I love it! I've been a snob about work things, but I'm afraid I won't be able to write it as humorously as you did. :-)

  24. I was laughing so hard at this! I am definitely becoming a design snob, that's for sure. I used to know design snobs and I couldn't figure out why on earth they cared what font something was set in… and now I'm one of those people. ;P

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Hey friends! Thank you for taking time out of your day to keep up with my ramblings :) Although I read every single comment I'm not always able to reply, so if you have any specific questions please feel free to send me an email. Thanks and have a lovely day! xo