Confessions of an Uncool Designer

Alicia Cressall
2 min readMay 17, 2016


It’s true, being a designer is pretty cool. We get to create amazing things, and many of us can quickly switch between mediums and techniques — print, digital, illustration, motion, etc. — but sometimes we feel pressure for the creator to be just as cool. You know, to be the coffee-loving charismatic hipster that goes to meetups every other day, blogs regularly and is known throughout their local design community.

I’m sure some people like that do exist, but this is for all the designers who feel like they miss the mark on how cool they’re supposed to be.

My awkwardness is unbearable.

I generally avoid meetups because small talk usually ends in my own embarrassment. The words that fall out of my mouth are a jumbled mess of half-finished thoughts. Ask me to write an email? Sure. Ask me to say something out loud? No, thanks.

My freelance projects are few.

I need 8 hours of sleep at night.

My wardrobe is shabby.

You would think designers should have a great sense of style, with our knowledge of colour theory, proportion, variety. Many designers have great fashion sense. Not me.

My portfolio is never finished.

The whole point of a portfolio is to display your work, but most of the time I hesitate to point anyone to it because it’s never really ready. It always needs refining; which leads to redesigning; which leads to rebranding. And repeating.

My work is mediocre.

I’m not very far along in my career, but this one is tough to swallow. I’m not a prodigy, or a one-hit-wonder. I don’t have a Dribbble or Behance profile with loads of followers. I’m not the designer that I aspire to be. Yet.

I wanted to write this because my awkwardness and “uncool-ness” is something I’ve struggled with as a designer. I’ve often felt that I don’t fit in with the community that inspires me, and I’m guessing there are many others that feel the same way. Share your confessions!



Alicia Cressall

A designer writing about design and maybe some other things. Senior Growth Designer at Parabol