Urgent Notice

The D.P.D.Z. is issuing this public notice to all designers in regards to a recent outbreak of designer zombieism. While exact causes have yet to be determined, all are advised to exercise caution when spending extensive amounts of time in front of the computer. Contributing factors may include, but are not limited to a rushed work schedule, extensive work hours, and a lack of (or too much) inspiration. The official departmental guidelines delineated below will help you protect yourself and spot the warning signs early if you are at risk. Be aware that no one is immune and outbreaks can strike at any time.

Warning Signs

  1. Incoherent moaning about bevels, gradients and drop shadows
  2. Unresponsiveness to concepts like project planning or wire framing
  3. Insatiable appetite for design tutorials, round-up posts, and brains
  4. Threatening to eat coworkers who provide opinions or feedback
  5. Insomniatic tendencies toward 100+ hour work weeks
  6. Inability to focus on one task at a time due to declining brain function
  7. Self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy brought on by extensive design gallery browsing

Preventative Measures

  1. Seek inspiration everywhere, especially away from the computer.
  2. Prevent roadblocks by planning, sketching, and brainstorming.
  3. Focus. Shut down twitter, email, RSS feeds, and your cellphone.
  4. Ask for help and feedback if you’re on a deadline or stuck.
  5. Change your environment by tidying up or making a design playlist.
  6. Take a break. Dig in the garden, go out to lunch or walk the dog.
  7. Encourage others - Paying respect and offering kind words to other designers can change your mood and (re)humanize the design process.

15 Responses

Leave a comment or contact me via Twitter @TrentWalton

  • Christopher Meeks

    I couldn’t agree more with the recommendation to get inspiration from things outside of work. I think the “wood background texture” trend is a perfect example of a lack of creativity.

    If you are a carpenter, great! If not, why the hell are you using wood? Try something more relevant.

    • Trent

      You should start a site for retired textures. Let people vote on the most overused ones & get them placed on the shelf for a while.

  • kevadamson

    I know the feeling too well. Meh.

  • Aaron Irizarry

    Nice post... recently I have been rather “undead”... took a day to get away with my daughter, and had a blast, and it was very helpful in recharging my batteries.

    I <3 zombies.... but not being one

    ~ Aaron I

  • Jeremy

    gurrrrgh...whats wrong with wood background texturrrrgrgghh...?!


  • Daniel Genser

    Spot on! Especially #1:

    Incoherent moaning about bevels, gradients and drop shadows

    Excessive drop shadows are a sign the designer has given up. I know I’ve done it.

    • Trent

      like a cook dropping subpar food in the fryer and covering it in cheese...

  • Rachel

    Points 1 and 3 of the “Warning signs” are spot on.

    Point 4 of the “Preventative measures” is one I should take to heart. I don’t know how many times I struggled and struggled, and waited until the very -very- last minute to ask for help.

  • Zach

    Is there a serum that can be ingested to start to turn back the clock on the possible infected? I have been trying to figure out how the undead and designers all seem to be associated.

    the article is GREAT!

    BTW smashing is showing some big love.

    • Trent

      I hear the dept. is working on such a serum, but the dosage is hefty. It comes in pints!

  • zbcgs

    You are right. I fully agree with this recommendation.

  • zombiegrrrrrrrrrrl

    Think I could get a doctor’s note about my zombieism excusing me for threatening to eat coworkers who provide opinions or feedback? I mean, if its a medical condition, I really shouldn’t be on probation, right?

  • Colin Williams

    Haha. Admit it, we all have a few mock-ups in our design folders with wood-grain backgrounds. The key is leaving those hidden away in that folder...

  • Nick

    Great article! What’s the header font?

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