Discover What Type of Designer Are You?


Just like there are different client types, and different people in general – there are a few different types of designers. In this article we will have a look at some of the characteristics of some of these and give you some tips on how to improve. Hopefully you will have a few good tips on how you can become an even better designer when you’re done with this article!

Have you ever thought that you’re unique? Or felt that you’re just one of thousands out there struggling to get a project?

Most likely, both of these statements are true. Many designers are out there trying to get their next project and most of them are in a way unique. Still there are some characteristics that we all have more or less of. By understanding some of these and knowing how to take advantage of your better sides while getting rid of the bad ones, you will be more likely to succeed!

Different Characteristics

Very few are just one single type. Most of us have some characteristics from several of these types, giving us hundreds of possible combinations. So we are indeed unique. Being one specific type doesn’t mean that you’re better than everyone else, or worse for that matter. The best way to be is a nice mix of different ones if possible. Even some of the more negative sounding types do have their positive sides. Now let’s have a look at one way to divide us into these types:

The Over-worker

More common within the ranks of fresh designers is the over-worker. This is the designer that spends a lot of time on even the smaller projects believing that this is the answer to everything. On the good side it’s always great when people try to make sure they’ve done the best they can. On the other hand this can be a dangerous path to go as you will have time for less projects during a month. If you’re being paid by the hour your designs will be more expensive than with several other designers and if you’re paid by the project there’s a good chance you’re working a lot for every dollar you get in. The key here is to learn when to say stop and getting more confident in what you do.

The Confident

Confident can be good. Actually it’s very good to some point. The confident designer knows that he’s doing well and sometimes dares to believe in his own gut feeling when making decisions. Balance is essential though. If you’re too confident you may be missing some important feedback from the client or not be critical enough to your own work.

The Nervous Wreck

I’ve met a few designers that are really nervous wrecks. They think that everything they do is bad or that clients will be unhappy with them no matter what they deliver. The confidence level is zero and I’ve many times thought that it must be really painful to have it this way. For some it can be just a matter of getting some quality feedback or polishing the skills a bit to feel more confident. Ask fellow designers for feedback, read up on what you do and do an evaluation of your routines. Maybe you’re someone who’s better off in another job?

The Average Designer

As the title says this is the average one. By average I don’t mean bad, just someone who’s right there in the middle with thousands of others without standing out much. A lot of us manage well in this segment and get a nice share of projects on a regular basis. These designers live by current trends without daring to take too many risks. They have the basic skills and understanding and usually make an ok living from designing.

The Creative Mess

The creative mess has a lot of ongoing projects simultaneously. He/she often has many projects outside the design terms as well, along with personal projects and dreams – all in the creative field. This can be a dangerous path to walk down if you’re not able to get done with what you’re doing. Try to get balance (the next characteristic) and work on time management. Sometimes it can be hard, but necessary to realise that you can’t do everything you want always. Priorities have to be made.

The Balanced Creative

This is the successful version of the creative mess type. With a lot of ongoing projects, this designer knows that it takes priority and hard work. Having multiple projects can be a really good thing and this designer has found the secrets to how to balance all projects in a satisfying way.

The Unique

This designer works more for the design than for the money (usually). A person that focuses on design that is uncommon and rarely seen. He doesn’t always have enough work but occasionally there comes huge projects along from clients that dare to go for his unique groundbreaking style. Often this designer works part-time.

The Trendsetter

Many times the trendsetter can own his own company or work with a bigger one. But these can also be freelancers. This type is the first one to start-up new trends and often has a lot of success. He can choose from many available projects at most times and is well-known in his niche. To be able to stay on top this designer will need to spend a lot of time reading up on what’s happening in the market, have the latest software and keep the skills polished.

The Ego-tripper

Haven’t we all met them at some point? The designer who believes he is a trend setter or that his designs are absolutely awesome at all times. This person needs to be better to listen to feedback and be more realistic. Instead of attracting clients he will be likely to drive them away. Clients that re-buy are few and he doesn’t understand why as he is “perfect” in his own eyes.

The Copycat

There are some designers that copy others work almost for a living sometimes. This will eventually be discovered and is a really bad thing. It gives a horrible reputation and most of these designers have to stop doing business after a short time. The secret is to do your research properly and learn to use trends without copying someone elses work.

The Lucky One and the Unlucky One

This is many times more a myth than a fact in my opinion. I’ve many times hear someone say they don’t succeed because they have bad luck or that someone else succeeded because they were “really lucky”. Obviously you can have good and bad luck with everything you do, that’s a fact. But using it as an excuse is not the way to go. While some succeed or hit that one client that is great referral or has a lot of money, it all comes down to hard work. The harder you work, the bigger the chance is for success!


There are many types of designers, and you’re probably a combination of several of these. My advice to you is to have a look at these, make up your own opinion and work towards becoming the type you think is the best for you. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some characteristics, so feel free to leave your feedback for everyone to hear. By doing things your own way without blaming the situation and working hard instead, you will have a better chance at success!

Good luck!

( Which type are you? )



  1. very nice! im a bit of all of ‘em, lol.. it’s nice to have this kind of article to evaluate your skills and how to improve.. thanks!

  2. Louise Hartley

    I can certainly relate to most of these designer types but I aso think that a good mixture of web designers is great as clients have different tastes & goals to meet.

    • Hilde Torbjornsen

      I agree with you Louise :)
      Being versatile quickly becomes important when being a freelancer as different clients need and want different things!

  3. Cosmin Negoita

    Nice article, Hilde! I find myself in some of these, unfortunately in some negative types :(

    • Hilde Torbjornsen

      Thanks Cosmin :)
      There’s always room for improvement for all of us. And by knowing a bit more about which types we are, we can keep improving.
      Good luck! :)

  4. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle of The Average Designer and The Creative Mess :D
    But I like to hop in between my on going projects (which are obviously random in type), so that I can maintain the dynamic in creativity than just focusing to one. The distress is lesser since I always make sure that no design project can dominate after another.

    • Hilde Torbjornsen

      Seems we have a lot in common then, hehe ;)
      Thanks for your feedback!
      Much appreciated :)

  5. Kelly

    This is a great article to help designers put things into perspective. Personally, I take a few characteristics from each category like you said, but not only does this help me improve but also gives confidence to know that certain things are normal and there are ways to get around them.

  6. chrissyna

    I think I am fated to be an average designer for life, someone who slog for company but doesn’t get much credits for their creativity.

  7. Great article, I am definitely a combination of these characteristics. I would certainly take the outlined advantages and disadvantages and try to become a better designer!