I work with people where design is not seemed as a very important part when advertising products or events. I am, as far as I know, the only person with a professional graphic design education. It is really difficult for me to change something there, everytime I try to establish at least some simple guidelines. And many do not have a single clue about design, e.g. different colors every time, no need for a consistent design, even colors and fonts vary in each design that is made.

I thought that it is easier to convince these people to let a professional do it, I am happy to accept criticism, but I don't want to explain to people why you should't use a rainbow gradient as a background or why you should leave some margin between content and border. They simply do not care.

Normally when I try to convince a person, I look at the facts, but except for color theory and some design principles I learned at school, I've never seen and actual rules derived from studies or something. Like how can I explain to these people that white space is important. Every time I just want to say: "Because it just looks shit" but that doesn't work.

It's actually only a problem because now my colleagues are demanding some designs, and although they have no actual education and experience, tell me exactly which layout to use, even though it looks nothing like anything else we've done for that specific marketing campaign. Or they ask me to just remove the white space to fit more text into it.


3 Answers 3


Some things are concrete in design discussions, but it definitely requires you control the conversation. Design success is not arbitrary. There are principles (Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Pattern, Unity, Movement, and Rhythm) that can be objectively discussed. These are neutral terms, so maybe you do or don't want Movement or Pattern, for example. These principles are used when construction a composition (design) that can either succeed or not in being readable, branded, easily understood etc. These qualities are not neutral, and are more subjective. Your task is to set goals, frame the conversation in the terms of design (composition), and speak clearly using terms (design principles and more) that are objective to make an argument for readability or brand consistency.

So, if you can gather the authority or a consensus around a template or set of colors, fonts, spacing guidelines and get people to agree at one time then you have a contract of sorts to lean on. Then you use the language of design principles and standards to corral whimsical design choices made by your co-workers. The challenge is to use language that is all about the visual impact and function and not about the person making (bad) design choices. It's a cooperative game where the goal is to make the most readable useful materials. There are objective ways to talk about reaching those goals.

Good luck!


This is something I think most designers experience at some point in their career. It's a bit more prevalent when you are just starting out, partly due to the lack of any track record regarding experience and partly due to the types of companies which often hire right out of school.

"I don't want to explain to people why you shouldn't..."

How do you envision the problem resolving then?

If you are unwilling to educate, then no one will learn.

If the situation bothers you to the point you are asking for advice, then it's really on your shoulders to try and resolve it. No one else is going to do that for you. As a designer you will always see things others don't and always be concerned with things others aren't.

Often you may find, although others seem disinterested, many are easily swayed by clear, concise, reasons as to why something is not favorable. Simple, easy things can help....

  • We need to use the same colors for everything. Using consistent coloring conveys a message that we are dependable and reliable as a company.
  • It needs more white space. If you cram everything into a layout the readability drops and it actually works against getting responses. Things need to have enough space to be easily read and ingested. That way, they are remembered to a greater degree.

These are merely a couple examples. Often you can be more specific about things when directly looking at work.

I'm not stating all this will definitely help your situation. It may not. But unless you are willing to try, you'll never know. You may find that after repeating these types of things for a while they start to sink in. When ads work better, get more responses, etc people start to trust your aesthetics and stop doubting you so much. In the mean time, you will have to continue dealing with poor design and slowly try to push better aesthetics.

One thing is certain.. if you can only muster up "it looks shit" you'll never get anywhere. You must explain why it looks like shit. Or.. find a different job.

Good news is, if explanations do start to have an impact on your colleagues, eventually all you'll have to say is "It's a design thing" and they'll trust you.


If this was my client, I would just get an assistant to do it and charge for it. If I had some other clients, I would also probably consider dumping this one.

If this was my employer, I would seriously ask myself how I ended up in that situation and for how long I'll be able to blindly execute this non-design job. Maybe it was exactly this that they were looking for when hiring, but failed to communicate the job description properly.

If they don't care and they insist on doing things their way, I'm afraid they will just keep ignoring whatever arguments you'll be able to make.

  • relate to this one deeply, I'm basically getting paid to use illustrator instead of someone for this one project. first actual freelance job and I need the money and exp, but def a no-go from now on. Apr 24, 2021 at 19:53

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