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How do you take your coffee? The way you answer that question could explain why you design the way you do. Look at some of the most common characteristics of different coffee drinkers, and see if the style you prefer actually indicates your personality and design work.
Latte & Flavored Coffee
Image Credit: 123RF
Enjoying milky, novelty-flavored coffee is a good sign that you’re a comfort-seeker and people-pleaser, always ready to help and be friendly. The downside of this is that you can be indecisive and tend to overextend yourself in an effort to help everyone. Following the crowd comes more easily to you than challenging the norm.
As you design, it can be hard to say no to the specifications of extremely particular clients. You may also tend to play it safe with your design and let others take more credit than they should in collaborative projects. While all of this may or may not result in substandard work, it can definitely rob you of your own voice and keep you from realizing your full creative potential. Because of your connection with people, you could bring unique insight to UI and UX design.
You’re not here to sit around. You’re ready to go places, give orders, and get things done. While your honest opinions and no-nonsense approach are excellent qualities, you can come off as tough and moody. Also, the more extra shots you order, the safer it is to assume that you stayed up working way too late last night (and should not be bothered today).
There are several ways your aggressive approach can come through in your design. It’s probably hard for you to hear advice or criticism if your history of superior design has proven you one of the best in your field. “I work alone” is one of your favorite mantras, and the speed of your output can sometimes exceed the care necessary to get a project just right. Since working in teams can be more frustrating than productive for you, consider whether freelancing is currently feasible. You may find yourself having way more fun than you should!
Enjoying a long talk with good friends comes second only to getting things right, especially on the job. You can be described as self-motivated and creative — the only problem is that your inner drive renders you incapable of letting yourself (or anyone else) achieve less than perfection.
Naturally, your desire for excellence can make you a ruthless critic, especially of yourself. This makes criticism from clients and other designers even harder to hear, especially when you know how much time you spent getting everything as perfect as you could. You probably favor very precise, symmetrical looks, so the gridded style of flat design is right up your alley.
Everyone else says it’s not real coffee, but you don’t care; you enjoy it. Your approach to life is probably more laid-back and cheerful than most. This can backfire on you when it’s crunch time and you persist in procrastinating until the very last minute.
You might work well under the gun, but it doesn’t mean you should. Clients will lose faith in you if they can tell you’ve been wasting time. Putting off projects can lead to the temptation to appropriate others’ work, with a few skillful twists and substitutions so you can call it your own. It would be more profitable to choose a field like typography or web design. These let you work on a small set project (one letter or site page) at a time, instead of saving it all in a lump for the night before the deadline.
You’re a purist. It didn’t exactly take rocket science to reach that conclusion. Simplicity and minimalism are your preferred aesthetics in design — as well as in life. Like the espresso drinker, you can tend to be moody, single-minded, impatient with foolishness, concise, and direct in your approach.
Minimal design is best for you, since you already see right to the heart of things and know which nonessentials to eliminate. Just don’t fall into the trap of working entirely alone or copying other minimal designers too closely, which is easy to do when there are so few elements to work with. Interaction design also plays into what you do, as it’s your job to figure out how few components your project can contain while still being intuitive and usable.
Soy, Viennese, & Other Special Orders
You’re the opposite of the black-coffee aficionado in many ways. You probably scruple over other decisions as much as you do with your coffee order, making sure everything is as healthy and efficient as it can possibly be. This wins you the affectionate title of “high-maintenance.” It doesn’t concern you too much that your complicated order is holding up the line; anything worth doing is worth doing right. (Though it’s still not completely right unless the coffee shop is European.)
Like espresso and cappuccino drinkers, you probably have a high opinion of your own designs because of your meticulous attention to detail and insistence on quality. If you’re a design thinker, you’re also very evangelistic about your design philosophy. Just remember that others’ viewpoints are valid too. With your design abilities and the ease with which you orchestrate situations, art direction would be a good fit for you.
Frappuccino & Iced Coffee
Life’s too short to obsess over calories, so you go for the delicious frozen treat more often than might be wise. Friends would describe you as bold, trendy, and spontaneous. Youth is the best time of your life, and you want to live it up! However, your sense of adventure can border on recklessness.
Your fearless approach to design keeps you willing to try new things, even after multiple rejected projects. You believe that like Einstein, the only way to achieve success is to keep being creative until you hit a genius idea. That would make graphic design a good field for you, where you can fully unleash your wild side. The only problem with being such a free spirit is that you have deadlines, as well as internal limits governing how many simultaneous projects you can do well. You may not always recognize these restrictions. That can get you in over your head.
Image Credit: 123RF
Your approach to life is very businesslike. Get in and get out; no time for fancy orders or cloying syrup. Straightforwardness and tradition are the best way to do things. You probably drink your coffee while it’s still burning hot, too.
As a leader type, you are equally good at delegating team roles and working solo. This seemingly bizarre combination can lead to “your” final project actually being a collaboration between you and your team, but you get the credit because you organized everything. There’s nothing wrong with working that way, as long as you give a byline (and payment proportional to work done) to your hardworking team members. These traits would make you a good creative executive.
You look chill on the outside, but there’s real drive hidden under your calm exterior. Two things that might be holding you back from striving to your fullest are your wariness of commitment and your love of chocolate flavoring.
Your restraint often carries over into your design work, meaning you don’t blow people away with your talents like you could if you let yourself. This especially affects visual design, where sometimes the consumer’s first glance will sell the product. Don’t be shy; don’t let others take any credit for the hard work that you did; and don’t be afraid to let your creativity loose. If you have your design principles down pat, but aren’t sure you want to let them loose on the world yet, consider easing into more creative projects by being the design editor. You’ll be exposed to many adventurous designs that will inspire your own work, while still being able to rein them in by correcting out-of-place elements.
Tea drinkers are typically calmer and less cutthroat than coffee drinkers, but that doesn’t make you any less determined to succeed — or any less particular about your tea. You just might not need such an intense caffeine jolt to get you going. You’re also aware of all the health benefits you get from your favorite beverage.
You may refuse to stress yourself out by obsessing over deadlines, or by getting in a rush when your client is impatient, but the quality of your work is excellent. Your thorough, critical eye would make you a great UI/web designer. Your quiet work can certainly make as much of a difference as you hope it will. Just make sure to keep your credibility intact by not going overtime, unless it’s absolutely necessary to achieve a stunning result on your project.
All of the above is not to say that designers always fit into a certain mold. You, as a designer, know better than anyone how unpredictable the creative world can be. Take the tips and characteristics above that you find helpful, and use them to guide you into a one-of-a-kind career — fueled by lots of your favorite beverage!