While I’ve been working from my home for quite a few years now and don’t have the “Office Space” experience anymore, I still run into quite a few web designers. While I took design in college, I consider myself more of a word man. As such, I’ve been able to pinpoint 10 distinct types of web designers you have run into. Whether you’ve hired one of these people before or worked with them, if you’ve spent any amount of time around web design geeks, you’ve most likely run into one or more of these types.
The client is barking and the project manager is barking, but this designer is playing with pixels, nudging them one by one to get it just right. Their desk (and virtual desktop) is annoyingly neat. Not so neat that you would move small items on their desk on purpose to annoy them. Nah, that’s not you.
This designer has been around a while and has picked up many bad habits over the years, including a secret love for the <center> tag which manages to make its way into every design they touch. That said, their ninja abilities to mix HTML, CSS, and all things Ajaxy makes them an important part of the team – as long as you keep them away from any Perfectionists in the office.
Once an amateur, this designer has become a full blown procrastinator. If there’s a deadline looming, you can be assured this person is talking about a total redesign just to get some more time. They’ve been talking about quitting since they first started working, but they haven’t gotten around to it yet.
The Funny Guy
If you thought your grandmother and relatives forwarding you emails was bad, here’s someone who knows better yet still does it. Worse yet is when they’re in the same building and can come to your cube and ask if you’ve seen the email they sent. (Note: Say you did otherwise there’s a good chance they will takeover your keyboard and force you to watch it. Funny, huh?)
This designer does work … but only in spurts and with a carrot dangling in front of them. The thing is, when they do come through, the work is usually so brilliant that many people put up with (or even encourage) their slacker behavior. This, of course, results in a downward spiral that’s dangerous – but fun to watch from a safe distance.
The Flash Guy
If only this designer was a tenth as cool as Flash Gordon things might not be so bad. As it stands, this person wants to do everything in Flash. The bane of SEO and marketing departments everywhere, Flash Guy insists that Flash is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They watch the Flash animation of the designer battling with Photoshop on a daily basis.
That One Guy
This is the unseen and unknown designer that does great work but is never recognized. Maybe they have a pet red stapler they’re attached to (and poor social skills), but they design like the top dogs, so they’re kept around and watered once a week. While they’re a bit odd and eccentric, they have your back in meetings and with middle management.
The Boss’ Friend
Or the boss’ cousin or nephew or whatever. The design skills may be good, but there’s always an uneasy feeling when you’re around them. It could be the parking spot they got while you had been working your tail off for five years and … Ahem. It does make sense to befriend this type of designer if you find yourself working with them.
Some web designers start their careers this way (especially today with so much competition), so cut them some slack if you run into them. As a fellow designer you could, for instance, have them hand code some nasty HTML table mess, but make sure there’s some sort of life lesson at the end so you can trick them into doing something else for you in the future. Don’t abuse your web design intern! [Editor's note: I think an intern snuck that last statement in. Can one of you interns take it out before the final copy is sent to CrazyLeaf?]
The Foreign Guy
Whether they’re brough in on a particularly large project or are kept around at all times (working 50+ hours a week), you may find yourself working with the outsourced. Or would that be outsourcers? Hmmm. Either way, they do good work most of the time although it can be like a Zen minefield sometimes when communicating with them learning their English and jargon from reruns of Happy Days. (Hey bro!)
Web Designer You
As hip and clever as Time magazine, I’m saying the last type of web designer (a bonus 11th designer) is you! There aren’t enough stereotypes to describe all of us, so I challenge you to come up with a short, witty description about yourself and where you are currently in your web design career. Are you up for it? If so, leave a comment below.
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