Let me preface this by saying I'm not a designer.

While I can make individual bits of a site look good, and I'm actually pretty skilled with CSS/Sass, overall design completely escapes me. I can't come up with good designs, nor do I really understand *why* good designs are good. It's just not something I can do, which feels really weird to say. but it's true.

So, when I made the Surfboard site (that's the project's internal name), I hacked everything together and focused on the functionality, and later did a branding and responsive pass. I managed to make the site look quite nice, and made it scale well across sizes/devices despite being completely new to responsiveness. (I'm proud, okay? deal.)

After lots of me asking (in response to people loudly complaining that the UI doesn't have X feature, scale properly on Y device, and doesn't look as good as Z site), the company finally reached out to its UI contractor who does their design work. After a week or two, he sent a few mockups.

The mockups consisted of my existing design with a darker background, much better buttons, several different header bars (a different color) with different logo/text placements, and several restyled steppers. He also removed a couple of drop shadows and made some very minor styling changes (bold text, some copy edits). Oh, he also changed the branding colors. Nothing else changed. It's basically the same exact site but a few things look a little better. and the branding is different.

My intermediary with the designer asked for "any feedback before finalizing the designs" -- which I thought odd because he sent mocks for two out of the ten pages (nine plus a 404 page). (Nevermind most of the mocks showed controls from the wrong page...).

So, I typed up a full page of feedback. Much of it was asking for specifics such as responsive sizing on the new header layout, how the new button layout would work for different button counts, asking for the multitude of missing pages/components, asking why the new colors don't match the rest of our branding, etc. I also added a personal nitpick about flat-looking controls because I fucking hate them. Everything I wrote was very friendly and professional.

... His response was full of gems. Let me share a few.

1. "Everything about the current onboarding site looks like a complete after-thought." (After submitting a design basically identical to mine! gg!)

2. "Yes [the colors match our current branding]." (No. They don't. I checked. The dark grey is different, the medium grey is different, the silver is different, the light blue is different. He even changed the goddamn color of the goddamn LOGO for fuck's sake! How the fuck is that "matching"?!)

3. "Appreciate the feedback [re: overlapping colored boxes, aka 'flat'], design is certainly subjective. However, this is the direction we are going." (yet it differs from the rest of our already-redesigned sites you're basing this off. and it's ugly as shit. gg again :/)

4. "Just looked at the 404 page. It looks pretty bad, and reflects very poorly on the [brand name] brand. Definitely will make a change here!" (Hey! I love that thing. It's a tilted, dotted outline of a missing [brand product] entirely drawn with CSS. It has a light gray "???" underlay and some 404 text inside. Everyone I showed it to, coworkers and otherwise, loved it. "Looks pretty bad". fuck you.)

I know I shouldn't judge someone so quickly, but what the fuck. This guy reminds me of one of those pompous artists/actors who's better than everyone and who can never be wrong, even while they're contradicting themselves.


  • 10
    You must be such a focused person to write rants of this length
  • 12
    Fuck, I'm super annoyed and this didn't even happen to me. He didn't have to be a douche about the feedback. I give you credit for designing even though you say you have no knack for it. And for a true designer to basically tweak your work and then be a dick about it? Ugh, fuck that guy.
  • 1
    uhh sad ashkin
  • 2
    Before hacking together shit to make the UI look good make a mockup design. Thats exactly how designing works. Before you implement you create mockups and ask for feedback to save your precious time preventing further useless coding. Design is a whole lot of trial and error method a simply good ui is shit if it doesn't have proper UX. So get it together. not all who code can design UIs and not all who design UIs can code, you get fucked up with loads of work when you are able to do both.
  • 9
    I totally get how you feel about designing and working with "designers" like that one!
    For handling feedback and adapting designs I've found this infographic both hillarious and quite helpful ;)

  • 2
    I hate designers, they act like their from some sort of cult, and think they are better than everyone.
    At least the ones I know
  • 4
    @shivayl I've met quite a few designers who fit that description. I didn't want to generalise and piss off the actually awesome designers here, though 😊

    Haha I had more than a few choice things to say about his pompous ilk, like "when I say I'm not a designer, I'm complimenting myself!" but that sounds quite mean out of context.
  • 3
    he's probbably an selfloving asshole who don't care for the end user.

    make him use www.zeplin.io that way you've get the specifics and can add realtime comments. It saves a lot of time and emails.
  • 3
    @heyheni he's the type that dictates, not cooperates.

    Fortunately, he doesn't have access to the repo. I'll make the changes I like and pipe the rest into shred. 😡
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