Image by Tala Safié

It’s been a while, but Overheard on Design Twitter is back, and we’ve got lots to get through. It was a good week for industry talk and some inside baseball, and we’d be remiss to not mention the launch of our Salary Transparency Survey. The open call invites graphic designers to fill out a Google form with their position, salary, and benefits, after which the info will be automatically uploaded to an anonymous spreadsheet for all to ogle.

Throughout the last week, we’ve seen hoards of anonymous critters busy at work in the spreadsheet, giving out information that companies would probably prefer their employees not share…

Of course, that’s the whole point of projects like the Salary Transparency Survey, which takes cues from the other salary spreadsheets that came before it. We’re big believers that transparency is key to building a more progressive and equitable workplace where designers feel informed and empowered to ask for what they deserve. In that spirit, we’ll move on to a common gripe around the nature of being “transparent.”

Freelance writer Alice Driver voiced a complaint we’ve heard before (and will definitely hear again): it’s all well and good to gripe about the struggles freelancing (she’s not a designer, but the same thing applies), but few people ever discuss they safety nets. This being Twitter and all, the responses careened between outrage, support, and yawn-worthy personal anecdotes. Most were in agreement with Driver, and added thoughtful responses that point out the importance of considering intersectionality in this clearly incendiary debate: 

And many were very open about the privileges that meant they could freelance, while also touching on the nature of being outside the white/middle class/heteronormative bubble.

Ultimately, the thread seems to have ended on a positive note.

And lastly, this week Khoi Vinh asked the question to set Design Twitter ablaze. To an outsider, it may have seemed like a simple question. Innocuous, even…

Some designers lead with their favorite, others end with their favorite—it’s just a perfectly harmless personal preference based purely on what the designer thinks will influence the client’s choice, right? Oh you poor, sweet little lamb. That’s dead wrong. 

First, there were those in disbelief that one would even present options.

Only a caveman would present options. This is 2019.

Others had a problem with the wording of the question—specifically, with the word “favorites.” Designers should love all their options equally.

I mean, as long as they solve a problem!


But others have their methods, and they’re more sophisticated than merely deciding how to order your deck. Here’s one we’ll call the Ludovico Technique.

Gotta do what it takes, we’re all just out here trying to get paid.

And on that note, we’ll leave you with a bit of pay transparency humor and a cat picture to get you through the holidays.