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14 Ways to Be the Worst Person on Your Graphic Design Team

14 Ways to Be the Worst Person on Your Graphic Design Team

When you’re working with other graphic designers, it’s easy for personalities to clash. When some jerk doesn’t put in the work or is unpleasant to work with, it can sour the relationship and poison the project.

Today, we’re going to teach you how to be that jerk.

Sure, collaborating on a graphic design project can open you up to new perspectives, help you learn new skills, expand your networking capabilities and increase your creative output potential—but why grow as a graphic designer when you can just push people around and makes things difficult for everyone?

We’ve put together a how-to guide to show you just how easy it is to make a graphic design collaboration absolutely insufferable.

1. Jump into a collaboration blind

Jump into a collaboration blind
If you want your collaboration to be full of headaches, start at the very beginning by jumping into the project headfirst with no set goals and no project definition.

Don’t bother talking about what each person is expected to bring to the table and don’t set any sort of reasonable timetable or deadline; those are the sorts of things that help a project run smoothly.

2. Work with the wrong people

Work with the wrong people
If you really want a disaster on your hands, don’t learn anything about the person or people you’ll be working with. The less you know about their work and personality, the better chance you have of an epic clash as the project progresses.

With any luck, your collaborators will all have completely incompatible levels of experience. You might even end up having to carry them through the whole project … or vice versa!

3. Use lawsuits instead of contracts

Use lawsuits instead of contracts
Figuring out things like project ownership and intellectual rights at the beginning of the project would probably make things a lot easier—but who wants to deal with all of that boring stuff? Forget about the legalities; you can always deal with the expensive consequences later.

4. Always be right

Always be right
Nobody likes hearing feedback that isn’t praise. So if the members of your design team have valid concerns about your ideas, just tell yourself that they’re not as talented as you are. Sure, collaborations can be a good way to find out flaws you didn’t know you had and to learn new skills from other professionals. But you’re probably the one exception to that rule, so just stand your ground until everyone else admits that you’re right.

5. Respect nobody’s time but your own

Respect nobody's time but your own
Want to show everyone that you really don’t value their time? Don’t worry about showing up late to any meetings—make them wait for you to start. And if they don’t? One less thing to worry about.

If you show up early, demand that everyone else be ready to begin the minute you feel like it. Also, be really picky about the times you’re willing to meet right off the bat. Be as inflexible as possible; it’ll make you a nightmare to work with.

6. Use fonts that nobody else has

Use fonts that nobody else has
If your partners don’t have access to the same fonts as you, that’s their problem. Don’t even bother letting them know if you include an obscure font in your project; just let them figure it out. Better yet—use a font you don’t even have the proper license for. Copyright is for chumps!

7. Fill your work files with useless layers

Fill your work files with useless layers
If other designers didn’t want to blindly search around you multiple layers and masks, they shouldn’t have collaborated with you in the first place. Naming your layers things that don’t make a lick of sense is a surefire way to make a project impossible for anyone else to work on. Don’t forget to let plenty of unused, blank layers clutter your project and put them in a completely indecipherable order.

8. Save your files with confusing names

Save your files with confusing names
While you’re at it, name your entire project file something that nobody understands. Nothing’s more unprofessional and mystifying than sending somebody “Untitled-1.psd.” And when you’re dealing with multiple project files, who needs organization? Just dump all of your project files into one big folder and call it a day.

9. Close off communication entirely

Close off communication entirely
Online collaboration tools make communication easier than ever, but if your goal is to infuriate your design partners, stop checking your e-mail. Turn off your cell phone completely. Move to a new city. Change your name. And always keep your work to yourself-never let anyone know what you’re doing, not even your creative partners. It’s a surefire way to make yourself impossible to work with.

10. If you must communicate, make it difficult

If you must communicate, make it difficult
If your design team manages to track you down and you’re forced to communicate with them, be as dishonest and indirect as possible if you really want to drive them crazy.

If you need to deliver negative feedback, try being passive aggressive about it. Or better yet, be actively aggressive and intimidate everyone into doing things your way. You probably won’t get what you want that way, but you’re sure to start an uncomfortable conflict.

11. Don’t sweat deadlines

Don’t sweat deadlines
Deadlines are really more like suggestions, aren’t they? If you don’t have your work ready in time and you really want to risk your creative partners’ reputations, force them to cover for you. For good measure, make plenty of excuses about why you’re late to make everyone look bad.

12. Take all the recognition

Take all the recognition
When the work is good and you really want to ruin your relationship with your partners, be sure to take as much credit as you can possibly grab. Make it all about you. Who cares if your collaborators get the credit they’re due?

13. Pass all the blame

Pass all the blame
Why take responsibility for your own mistakes when you can just push them on to someone else? When things go bad, just shift the blame onto your design team. It’s probably their fault you screwed up in the first place, right? … Right?

14. Just be a complete monster in general

Just be a complete monster in general
Don’t smile, don’t laugh, don’t joke or make small talk—these people are your underlings at best, so don’t get attached or too personal. Be cold and unprofessional. Bring your kids to meetings or eat smelly food really loudly during presentations.

Swear a lot, and loudly. Never shower, but dose yourself in plenty of cologne or perfume to mask the smell. Just do whatever it takes to be as inhuman as possible so that people won’t make the mistake of wanting to work with you ever again. Why should you change your behavior for other people when you can revel in the glory of being a complete and utter social monster? Just follow these steps to make people think you’re the worst graphic designer ever.

How to NOT be the worst

Obviously, if you actually want to be successful as a creative collaborator on a high-performing design team, then you should probably try doing the opposite of everything we just listed. In fact, avoid all of these mistakes as much as possible. Keep communication clear and open, give feedback and be gracious when you receive it, keep a tidy workspace, practice good Photoshop etiquette, and do your best to be an effective member of the team.

How to Be a Team Player on Design Collaborations

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Then again, nobody ever tells horror stories about the perfectly affable, reliable, talented designer on the team—so that’s the one downside of acting like a reasonable human being. You’ll never be an urban legend.

Speaking of horror stories—we want to hear some of yours. What do other designers do that drive you nuts? Leave a comment and air out your grievances below.

Vladimir Gendelman
Author: Vladimir Gendelman

As CEO of, Vladimir is a knowledgeable authority in print marketing and graphic design for businesses. With his team of designers and experts, he helps customers put forth the best possible impression with high-quality collateral. Learn more about Vladimir’s history and experience, and connect with him on Twitter.

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