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Get Your Words Good and Your Definitions Right

Take another look at how you describe what you do.

Even though our industry is a visual one, we still need to communicate with words sometimes. But those times can get a bit tricky if you’re trying to explain what it is you do and your service offerings can’t easily be categorized based on medium. You’re torn between trying to be accurate (and boring the poor person who has to hear the description) , yet succint (without it devolving into  “I draw pretty pictures”).  We recently found a few sites that shed light on this epic struggle in what is probably the most suitable fashion… complete ridicule.

First up is the one that’s been getting the most attention these days, Design Jargon Bulls**t  using real examples of egregious use of Design-ese (even including links to the perps’ websites)

Then across the pond (we assume since we don’t use the word “wank” that way in the States) there’s Agency Wank which as it’s name suggests, highlights the sometimes bombastic way firms and agencies talk to prospects on their websites.

Designer Kirk Roberts feels your pain as well as he humbly shared a few of the  rejects he went through on the way to  his perfect tagline:

But if you’re stuck staring at a blank screen trying to find your own high-falutin designerific way of telling the world how awesome you are, then you might want to try out the marketing bulls**t generator. Just click and enjoy.


Of course brand wizards shouldn’t feel left out. Proving that there’s always room for one more way to insert “brand” into an unsuspecting word, I present to you a brand glossary by compass360.

In all seriousness, it’s hard coming up with a unobnoxious way of encapsulating the value you feel you bring to your clients while trying to avoid seeming like “just another” firm. I sympathize, really I do. Even one of my favorite value propositions, from design agency Form, can sound a lil’ pretentious if you say it wrong.

Maybe this list from feedgrid could serve as some inspiration as well.

So hopefully the above examples will inspire you to take another look at how you say what it is you do, and not take it too seriously. Unless of course you like using phrases like “cross-platform infomediaries” and “strategolutions”. Then there’s no helping you my friend.


Andrew Davies

Drew's degrees in Illustration, 2D animation and Broadcast Design, and his volleyball skillz mean he can get your design done and play well with others at the same time. He’s the Creative Director at Paragon and will call you out if you start hanging out with shady-looking fonts and messing around with whacked-out color palettes.