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A Designer's Life in 10 Hilarious Cartoons

Creative Market March 31, 2021 · 3 min read

There are both many privileges and many challenges that go hand-in-hand with living the life of a designer. From dealing with difficult clients to figuring out how to manage your time, the designer life has a slew of common problems — many of which are illustrated in the hilarious cartoons below. Read on to learn more (and laugh!) about some familiar designer problems that you most likely share with creative types across the world.

1. File Naming

Ever had to do multiple (read: dozens) of drafts of a design? This hilarious cartoon from @AksharPathak illustrates the file naming process for designers from draft to draft to draft to final draft (and then final, final draft).


2. Branding Guidelines

Ever gotten frustrated about nitpicky color-matching guidelines and branding restrictions set by clients (or previously chosen by you)? This cartoon from Nathan Pyle about different tones will probably feel pretty familiar.


3. Design by Committee

Jerry King created this hilarious comic about having to design for a group of people. Has anyone ever heard the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth”?


4. Spec Work

Hate that dreaded part of the creative life called spec work? So does this guy, in a cartoon by Brad Colbow. Nobody should have to create outstanding, completed works for no pay!


5. The Creative Process

Every designer has his or her own unique creative process. However, what most of these have in common is that the smallest part of the process is the actual design work (and the biggest is probably either snacking or surfing the Internet!) Check out this pie chart about it created by Murray the Nut.


6. Time Management

Having plenty of time to create your design helps… only if you’re good at time management. Some designers prefer to think, wait for inspiration, and then get the work in just under the wire, just like Calvin in this classic Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.


7. Color Decisions

It can be tough deciding what colors to include in your design, especially if the client does not already have a brand manual or a preferred color scheme. However, it can help if you use complementary colors — or, as this cartoon by paint brand Sherwin Williams jokes, complimentary colors!


8. Burnout

Creating a design requires so much more than just sitting down to create it. From emailing back and forth with the client, to brainstorming, to just drinking enough coffee to stay focused on your work. This cartoon by Zombiesmile on Deviant Art is a great illustration of the typical designer burnout.


9. Working for Exposure

Getting work as a designer, particularly a freelance one, can feel challenging. However, doing work for free just to get “exposure” can feel like a waste of time, energy, and resources. This comic from Cyanide and Happiness illustrates a designer who feels exactly the same way!


10. Client Conversations

Every designer wants to please their client, particularly if they want to get more work when they’re done. However, designing for clients (particularly those with no knowledge of design or branding) can be challenging. The hardest part? Actually having conversations with clients about what they want in their design. Check out his hilarious cartoon from Ken Reynolds depicting a typical client-designer conversation.


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