I’m a little worried about trying to “break in” to the business. I’m a pretty quiet person raised on the value that merit is given where merit is deserved. But increasingly in the realm of design I find many people who become famous overnight on little skill and many very talented people with no recognition. And I think alot has to do with arrogance. I have a very successful and very egotistical friend and I’m pretty sure thats why he always gets the jobs. Would it be to my advantage to develop a superiority complex and show my confidence to employers, fellow designers or is it more respectable to go the humble route?

ps, on a side note I met Josh Davis a few weeks ago and always have been a fan of his work but was extremely turned-off by his big head.

I would distinguish between confidence and arrogance. There are plenty of jobs out there for confident designers. You won’t hear much about them in the press, but then being a designer is mostly a behind-the-scenes occupation. For most of us that’s fine. For those who need their ego stroked, it’s not. But they don’t define the occupation even if the press seems to define all of us through the lens of these individuals.

If you do good work, have insight into the marketplace and understanding of the target market, and can give the client not just what you think is appropriate but something in which they can believe and which their salepeople can promote, you’ll do fine. You may not be on the cover of a magazine, but who cares?

Some designers believe that being cocky arrogant is the way to go. It does work on occasion in helping convince potential clients who expect it based on what they think they know about ID. It can also backfire. It can paint a designer into a corner and leave a bad taste in a company’s mouth. Better to be confident but with enough humility to admit when something isn’t working. The goal is a great product. Arrogance won’t achieve that.

there is a big difference between confidence and arogance. For sure you should be confident when meeting an employer, and it doesnt hurt to show you have an opinion and can make decisions. these are always important factors in any job.

saying, however, that “you are the best designer in the world” (especially if you are not, or dont have the experience behind it), is a complete turnoff.

ego is something i dont think has any place in a design environment. the ideal designer thinks not of themself, but of the client, end consumer, and the problem. what you personally like has nothing to do with it. not saying you cant like your own work, or have personal opinions, just that they shouldnt get in the way or be #1 priority.

i dont know how many times ive been surfing through core-folios looking at potential hires, and been totally turned off by people writing about themselves in 3rd person, saying how “XXX is a super-talented, creative guy, with the best problem solving skills in the world” (just an example, not an actual description".

while im on a bit of a rant, i also gotta say i hate when i see one person with 4 different corefolios too…

be honest about your skills and abilities and experience. i personally wouldnt ever want to work at a place that hires the most arrogrant person for the job. likely not very focused on quality and actual skill.


thanks for you reply Deez but i dont think bashing and name-calling is the purpose of this forum.

i am not an idiot
i dont equate success to fame

i just thought it would be nice to get a little feedback from people further along than I, not people who sit around searching forums for people to make fun of

thanks to all the others who responded

Glad you’re back, i missed you the last month or so

While Deez makes an interesting point or two wrapped in that layer of resentment masquerading as flip sarcasm and wit, the gist of what she is saying is correct.

To that I will add that getting PR is no easy feat and it is not an individual effort. Publications tend to talk about people that talk to them. I takes a large amount of effort and time (and often money) to get in front of the right people in order to get PR opportunities. What often looks like an overnight success (it makes a better news story that way) is tons of diligence. Some people are interested in putting in this effort (for whatever reasons…) and some are not. Some people put most of their effort into this, while a lot of others genuinely deserve their little hand clap. I can think of more of the second group really.

You might wish the media would show up at your door ready to write a 4 page article on your mad skills, but as my first boss oft said “wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first?” How would anyone have any idea who you where without putting yourself out there, think about it?

I feel your pain, I really do. But the real world just doesn’t give merit where it is due based on mere merit alone, just like jobs don’t necessarily go to people with the best portfolio. Things tend to be more complicated than that. I know it’s one of the biggest disappointment in adult life, but to get job and PR opportunities you have to work at it just like you do on your portfolio.

It is a totally valid question, one most of us have asked ourselves. remember there are no stupid questions and the only people making a idiot of themselves are those that put people down for asking one (which is well noted to be my hot button)

my 1.5¢

for a useless post he seems to have really touched a nerve. Personally I would never give something useless as much time, over dramatized language, and personal insult as you did, but maybe that just me…

the other .5¢…

Name examples.

And once you’ve named a good and satisfactory amount of examples (enough to warrant an investigation from the entire design community), we as a whole can then take a serious look at your shocking accusations based on your thorough indepth experience.

OR you can concede and admit that this is a general retarded topic based on NOTHING but superficial misconceptions and sour grapes fueled assheadedness, without concrete examples and personal acquaintances of such designers BEYOND a sissy bitch of a friend that you are jealous of, then you can literally type “yes, DEEZ you are right, I am an idiot.” Only then, you will be forgiven and this will stop.

I’m not bashing for the sake of bashing.

  1. I find useless posts useless.
  2. I find grown males seeking head pats and superficial reassurance disturbing.

    I await your detailed list full of copious amounts of examples that SUPPORT this idiotic statement and bitching:

Methinks the Lady doth protest too much.

Some personal failure issues, perhaps? I dop find your attack completely uncalled for, and to me smacks of even more arrogance than all the superstar designers combined.

This is a forum for discussion, not a trial. Not only have you also failed to provide any examples to your case, but also contribute almost nothing in the way of intelligent response that even present a clear point of view.

Is you thesis just that everyone who makes an observation is a bitching idiot?

or that you are the judge and the jury for the entire design community and supreme holy roman emperor?

Sorry, but if this an issue of personal credit and experience, I think it would perhaps then help for us all to throw down. Let’s not hide behind anon screen names.


You people, lay off Deez, design needs more hyperactive s**t disturbers to keep things interesting. But before flushing the discourse level here down the toilet, the initial topic is not devoid of relevance to designers today.

At least several million individuals before me have not only stated but proven it - talent alone does not invite success, no matter your definition of it, unless your personal and material needs are modest to an extreme. And thousands of self-help books are yellowing in discount bins everywhere that treated the same topic.

To perceive others as “arrogant” one must be low-key and self-effacing to begin with. Then whoever speaks louder than you, brags about their achievements or just works harder can be perceived as “arrogant” at least to some degree. People like that are self-absorbed perfectionists obsessed with always achieving more and that usually irks those contented with less. They know success can be fleeting and must be nourished, nothing is guaranteed. In reality, perceived “arrogance” in others is closer related to the old biblical sins of envy and jealousy. Aren’t Karim Rashid, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates perceived as “arrogant” by most of us dull normals? I remember even in school the best of the class were seen as aloof by the rest. As a result they only kept the company of others just as ambitious, with whom they later started businesses that made them seem even more “arrogant”. And so on. Hard to like those in the passing lane, indeed.

The original poster - like the archetypal design student today - likely derives most adrenaline rushes from the creative act alone. Nothing wrong with that. But be aware that there are other individuals for whom the act of TRANSACTING their talents is at least as much of a high. Selling ideas - versus only producing them - is a smaller arena with higher stakes and fewer players but it’s really where the show happens. Why? Because it pays the salaries of the soft-spoken, introspective and shy types who prefer the company of computers to that of tantrum-prone, paying clients. In the end someone has got to do both jobs equally well. The important thing is to know early on where you fit and play by the rules.

You do not need a “superiority” or any other brand of “complex” - that would label you a fake and is a sure career killer at either end. You need to stay yourself and actively promote and sell your own personal brand name at its right value and the right price. This may not be a perfect recipe for happiness but let’s say it’s not a bad start. A lot of “quiet” people did some great things in history simply because actions always speak louder than words, cliche as it is. In the end, most people admire the doers.

“Never be haughty to the humble; never be humble to the haughty” - Jefferson Davis.

If there is any arrogance among designers, I 've really only seen it in overconfident newbies who have just graduated from design school and were told by their teachers and peers that they were going to “change the world”.

Most new designers know nothing to warrant that additude. They know nothing about commercial design, nothing about business, nothing about economics, and nothing about their company’s clients. Far too often I’ve seen fresh designers walk into an office like this only to be told be the CEO to shut the F(*& up and go sketch something because everyone but them knows that they haven’t a clue.

Designers want a lot of credit and big salaries but few deserve it. If your contribution to a product is 20 hours of sketching compared to several thousand hours of R&D by engineers, programmers, and technical consultants, then you have a lot of explaining to do to justify that big salary in the next review session. You might as well have been a freelancer brought in for the day.

I blame a lot of this on the schools and on the books and magazines that have come out in recent years talking about how creativity is going to save the US economy, innovation will rescue us all. Thats bullshit. The only thing that is going to save anyone is hard work, determination and a little luck. Like William McDonough said - Talent is only one-third of the success equation.

If you want to be an arrogant designer then you better be prepared to back it up with some substance, otherwise just plan on being yourself or going home. There is no shortage of people with talent, people who think they have talent, and people with no talent at all who would be more than happy to fill your seat when you get canned for acting like a total prick in your office.

Please, if you spend your entire time on here head tackling people, you can’t expect anything but the same. If anyone deserves to be lightened up on it is rkuchinsky, look at his work, its pretty awesome. I’d recommend the same of you and deez, but no one knows what you have done… if anything…

As you said Egg, the topic has relevance, and I agree with your comments (other than the first one), to help the kid understand the way the world turns, there is no reason to call him an idiot though. It is something that every idealistic kid must come to terms with. When you did, there probably wasn’t a forum where some could atttemp to degrade you for it.

Putting aside all the dick-whipping-out-and-measuring…

The topic of arrogance and personal conviction and expression is a good one. Just the fact the original poster had the thought to pose the question to me shows good thinking. Much better than just going with the convential wisdom, acting arrogant, and getting unplanned results!

I believe there is indeed a place for personal conviction and objectivism. The key I believe is the end goal of those convictions.

From my perspective, it is true arrogance and a negative expression of self when a person forces his/her thoughts/decisions/opinions on others for the only benefit of their own ego. This can be done by inexperienced designers saying they know everything, or experienced desigeners pandering to image and celebrity.

Aside from the exception (surely there is some place/use) for celebrity designers, (a whole different discussion!) this I generally think is not welcome in the professional work environment. The end goal of communication, discussion, etc. is not to convince someone how great your are, or why you are right, but finding the best solution to a problem. You may be 100% correct, but acting like a selfish, self-assured fool will get you nowhere fast, and only cause resentment.

I dont think however, that this is what the original post was about. Giving credit and a common sense perspective to the question, I think the comment about arrogance is more focused on the seemingly confident attitude and personal conviction that often accompanies sucessful people.

For sure, to some this can feel like arrogance. In my experience, however, the big difference is that the end goal of the successful person is usually focused correctly on the solution. It is why they are successful. Personality alone will not make you great. Finding a good solution will.

No one is saying that you cant be confident, or that having an opinion or personal conviction is wrong. If you do it for the sake of making your image stronger, or ego however, I think you have every right to expect people slagging you and thinking negative things.

For sure some people have an inflated self image and are egotistical. In my opinion however, this is thankfully the exception rather than the rule. Best you can do is ignore all the tongue wagging. Certainly if these egotistical people have less skills than ego, they wont be going far.

All in all, work on your skills. I have never seen “ego” or “arrogance required” in a job posting.

Related to this, I recommend every designer should some time read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

In addition to being a great comment on challenging the traditional viewpoint of a market through design, many of the character points that make the book relevant 60-something years later touch on the basis of personality, selfishness and arrogance.

I just so happen to now be in the process of re-reading it (i try to read it every few years or so), and its amazing how well it actually fits this whole discussion.


Anyone that has achieved fame or reputation in this business deserves it.

If they did not have to toil for years unnoticed first that does not bother me at all. It is better for the profession and ulitmately better for individual designers. At times I have been frustrated by my own lack of designer “celebrity” given the amount I work. But this frustration has helped me see how much I need to coninue to improve. It has also kept me going on those long tough projects and reminded me to hire designers with diverse perspectives so that I can continually learn.[/b]

Yo Mike, I realize your job here is to moderate the moderate but too much of a good thing leads to lame exchanges that add zero value to those involved. Deez has his/her style, I have my own and so on but you have to make the effort to realize we all represent field reality in our individual ways. The richer in characters this forum the better for all. I definitely don’t “spend my entire time on here head tackling people” [have you read my other posts?], nor do I spend much time here anyway - and one good reason is people like you “making recommendations” from a high seat. Who the hell do you take yourself for?

Some of us have darned good reasons to stay anonymous on such juvenile spanking forums for spoiled brats or confused rich kids looking to make sure it’s all like mommy said out there. And it’s much better the poster get called an idiot by something called a “Deez” now and start preparing to deal with it for when one real-life future boss calls him that in front of his colleagues.

In our individual ways, we each offer constructive advice here if the receptor is intelligent enough to pick on the trends and construct the big picture. This is one of the toughest fields to succeed in today; any one of us spending time writing here would be crazy to do it if it wasn’t to help.

The other thing is - why are you speaking in someone else’s name? Let the original poster write back and decide if they got something out of it or not.

“It is something that every idealistic kid must come to terms with. When you did, there probably wasn’t a forum where some could atttemp to degrade you for it.” Actually, Michael, you’re wrong assuming this too. I can only WISH the Internet existed when I started out in design, and later in business. It would have saved me so much heartache, not to mention time and money. Because “degraded” I did get anyway a number of times, only I thought my experience unique and blamed myself for it.

Our young chap here has the immense luck to get a little pre-emptive virtual straightening and you’re already jumping to help? What are you, his dad? Come on!

Also, Michael, you’ve gotta shake that “show us what you do for us to believe you” crap attitude. It’s tired and useless in discussion forums unless I’d be looking for a job or contracts now, neither of which seems likely to apply for the remainder of my days. But I digress.

I only reveal myself to people who bring in the dough, putting me - I guess - in the “arrogant” category like Deez. Except it takes me longer than him to call anyone an idiot for no good reason.

Peace upon you either way, pal. Enjoy the summer and don’t talk to strangers.

Boo …

First of all, ignorance and insults is not a “style” and is completely unecessary. If anything, your intended point gets lost and people tune out. Just a tip.

In regards to your identity, maybe i’m missing something here, but I can’t think of any great reason for such annonimity and hypocricy. What is there to loose being upfront and open about yourself when contributing?

Personally, I would never value any opinion if I didn’t know where its coming from… Sharing your experience and history and personal work only could help strengthen your argument if you actually have a position to comment from. Nobody is asking for your home address or bank account number here to qualify.

Opinions are like assholes- everybody’s got one. It is in fact the experience and perspective of an opinion that gives it value.

Michael, for one is very open about his position, experience and point of view. I for one thank him for his candor, and value his words much more given that I know he is a very skilled and successful designer. And as a moderator, I would think some form of moderation is well called for. Keep up the good work, Yo.


no disrespect, but that seems to sum it up pretty nicely. it says everything people have been saying…ok maybe the idiot part was a lil’ harsh (i am sure ardnaxela has gotten over it and has already responded in kind) but at least it openly so instead of the thinly veiled shots people throw around this board all the time…

a post like deezs’ come closer to what you would expect sitting among friends and some says something midly condescending, questionable or innane…only with more expletives in there

Opinions are like - everybody’s got one. It is in fact the experience and perspective of an opinion that gives it value.

hahaha! true, true, but people do not usually go around trying to prove their *sshole is better than the next man’s…

thank you ladies and gentlemen for being a part of my education

while a bit frustrated from the first few responses i got, especially from Deez, i realised that you all have taught me something a little more important

this business is just like any other and there are always people willing to help you out, and others wanting to push you over. but i must say they you learn equally from both types.

i would also like to say again: i am not an idiot
i came here to ask a question, because i didnt know something. if i already had all the answers then i wouldnt be here in the first place. if you all prefer then i’ll just stick to the the student forum.

one final thing…why is it automatically assumed that I am a HE? we could start a whole new topic about that.

so you are a female, well that explains everything now! topic finished.


Success is bred from talent, determination, salesmanship, and luck. If you’re missing any one of these, you’re headed down a difficult path. A strength in any one can help make up for a deficiency in another, but you need them all in some form…

You can’t expect anyone to have confidence in your abilities if you don’t have confidence in yourself. And the old adage that hard work is rewarded only holds true if people know that you’ve been working hard. And the truth is, they’re only going to know that you’ve been working hard if you prove it to them.

And to break topic for a second…

If you can handle the triumvirate of sarcasm, criticism and personal attacks on these forums, you’ll have no trouble out there in the real world…

after typing out a nice list of people i realised that i’d rather not say and then be bashed and name-called all over again for being ignorant, or just some kid who doesnt know anything.

the people who i feel dont deserve all the attention for their work are only opinions of mine and i’d prefer not to battle out my opinions with all you here

i am not jealous or upset that my designs havent gone anywhere, because i havent even tried. actually, i’m only a first year student in industrial design just trying to get a glimpse of what might lie ahead.

i see that you are much more experienced at arguing, name-calling, and catchy cliches than i am so i prefer not to duke it out on core77.

now, lets bring on the gender jokes as i assume most if not all of you that have responded here are men.

see, now this is exactly the unfortunate negative of having too much bullshit, unfounded, attacking comments- another opportunity for good open discussion and education is missed.

as you have noted you have gained a lot by posting your original question, despite some of the sidebar low-end comment, i would always encourage you not to stop yourself from posting for fear of being bashed idiots.

in any case, as noted, all of the attached have come from others who have not stepped up to present their own experience. don’t doubt your own experience in the face that others might have even less. who know…maybe Deez & co. are failed applicants to first year ID or ID grads flipping fries at McD’s?

Your openess to ask questions is the most important thing.

I only hope in your future career and education you dont meet as many assholes as there may be here, jerking their own chain from the shadows of annonimity.