When I first met my wife, I was a media buyer working in the depths of Excel sheets and marketing budgets. Her department was viewed (by me and others in media) as another world. Their room was dimly lit; there were odd toys scattered about the room; and they laughed at fonts. Oh, and everyone had large computers. I envied those computers.
My office was shared with another media buyer and was located next to the copy room—a location I now believe was given in hopes the copy machine would drown out my talking and bouts of singing. For months, one of the designers would frequent the copy room and then pop her head into our office to chat about YouTube fails and concerts. I thought she had a crush on the other buyer. It took me a while to realize she had nothing to copy, and she liked me. When I realized this, I started staying late in order to work on “projections” and “flighting” in the hopes of walking out together. Sweet potato cake, flowers, secret dinners, and a flat tire later, we finally started dating.
Now married and a designer myself, I can never thank my wife enough for helping me cross the great divide between media and creative. It's a better world on the other side. And if you don't believe me, here are the top 10 reasons why marrying a designer was the best thing I did.
Top 10 Reasons to Marry a Designer
1. You will never run out of pillows or blankets
Our (white) couch seems to have an endless supply of patterned accessories. We have a philosophy in our home, the more color and patterns you add, the more it makes sense.
2. You can be a color nerd
You can be nerds at the paint store and discuss whether a color is blue-grey or grey-blue. My wife often asks me if I'm colorblind. Which doesn't really bother me as I feel her staunch defense of “grey” is reason for me to suspect she herself is colorblind. We've reached a draw on this point. (P.S.—I apparently think everything is blue.)
3. Curiosity is equally as strong as creativity
Squid? Sure. Travel detour? Why not. Life on the media side was about prediction and analysis. On the design side, however, life is about trying. Use a different color, see a different angle. Ask a friend. Whether music, food, or random facts, my wife loves to discover new things. (see #5)
4. Billboards are your friend
On long road trips, billboards become a topic of conversation. What are we looking for? Simplicity and legibility. With an endless array of fonts, poor kerning, and Photoshopped graphics, there's always something to say. And hey, it's not all bad. Sometimes we simply say, "Oh, I like that!"
5. Travel and adventure are inevitable
The world is a vast place and creatives want to see it all! Paris had always been on my bucket list, and in our first year of marriage, my wife simply said, "So...why don't we just go?" We did. For her birthday last year, we went dogsledding. February can be a doldrum of a month. But snow and huskies? That's a winning combination. Best. Birthday. Ever.
6. Remodeling is no longer a dreaded task
Need to remodel a bathroom or kitchen? Remodeling ideas are easy to come by. Sure, you can get stuck in the cycle of point #2, but that just means you'll be happier with the color once you finally agree. Now actually doing the work... well, that's a different topic.
You become an expert in IKEA furnishings. Recognize a tchotchke on a friend's desk? Of course you do. You saw it last week on the showroom floor. Which also happens to be where you picked up that cool font poster.
8. Time is on your side
Clocks are your friend. You once thought they were just for telling time, but now you realize they're a statement. Of what? You're not sure. But you definitely know what time it is. Everywhere. And yes, they too, came from IKEA.
9. Intuition and listening improve
Designers are often magicians—listening to client's desire and having to turn words into design. You become a master at the phrase: “So what you're actually saying is...” BONUS: This skill works both with clients as well as at home with each other on pizza night.
10. It's all about the details
Designers have an eye for detail. Whenever we're about to buy something, my wife will do “QC” (quality control). When giving clothes as a gift, she'll go into hawk-eye mode and make sure there's not a sewing anomaly or dangling thread. More than threads, though, she sees beauty in the moment. I'm often apt to miss a photo opp even when it's right in front of me. During a mountain drive, I had numerous photos of the endless views, but she stopped me to snap a picture of this roadside flower (below). It's one of her favorite pics.
Designer and Spouse
My wife continues to challenge my perspectives on design and life. And while I'm often amazed at her InDesign wizardry, I'm more grateful that she's an encourager—compelling me to see more, do more, try again, see people in a new light and simply be myself. She likes my singing. And let's be real—I definitely use those blankets while on the couch.
What About You?
Do you have a spouse or friend that's a designer? What are some of their quirks that you love?
Stephen Palacino is the owner of Page1 Branding, a web design and brand development company in Greenville, South Carolina. Working primarily with startups and small businesses, he enjoys helping clients define their story alongside their passion. You can read more from Stephen on branding and life at his blog.