Graphic Design Is My Passion (Meaning and Origin)

If you’re a graphic designer, you’ve heard the phrase “Graphic design is my passion.” This meme has been circulating the Internet since 2014 and has only gotten better with age.

Like a secret handshake among visual artists, the famous phrase and the images accompanying it have struck a chord by reflecting the attitude of designers on a widespread scale.

Graphic design is my passion meme by yungterra

Takeaways

  • Graphic Design Is My Passion is shorthand for bad design.
  • The meme was first posted 2014 by Tumblr user Yungterra.
  • The font used is Papyrus, a typeface many designers hate.

Meaning

Describing the meaning of the phrase to outsiders is no easy task, but if you’re part of the graphic designer community, you get it.  

Nothing is wrong with having a graphic design passion, but the seriousness of the phrase combined with lousy design makes it an ultra-satisfying meme.

Professional designers are usually the only ones who notice design crimes in the first place, so part of the meme’s appeal is breaking the rules in an outrageous way.

You probably know someone who utters these words or takes their design too seriously. So, this gives the meme a feeling of familiarity that all designers can relate to.

Origin

The meme first appeared in 2014. It was posted on Tumblr by user Yungterra.

The original image featured a cartoon frog set against an overcast sky with the phrase “Graphic design is my passion” underneath. The text is set in Papyrus.

Like all good memes, “Graphic design is my passion” spread rapidly.

By visiting the Wayback Machine, you can see the original post. On July 7, 2014, it had 160,000 likes. That number skyrocketed to 352,000 within a year.

Examples

Today, there’s an entire blog devoted to variations of “Graphic Design is my passion.” However, one of the most notable spinoffs appeared less than a year later.

On August 31, 2014, a user on Tumblr posted a meme called “Graphic Design is my burden.” It pokes fun at the mental anguish of noticing lousy design in the first place.

Though it clearly references the original meme, “Graphic Design is my burden” uses a different cartoon frog.

The spinoff works because, like the original, it taps into a deep-seated sentiment that all designers relate to. While most people are blissfully unaware of fonts and user interface issues, designers see bad design everywhere—and are tormented by it.

Graphic design is my passion spinoff meme
Example of bad design
Example of bad design
Graphic design is my passion spinoff meme
Graphic design is my passion spinoff meme

Font

The font of the original “Graphic design is my passion” meme is set in Papyrus.

Despite having some attributes, many graphic designers hate Papyrus because of its misuse and overuse.

On September 30, 2017, Papyrus was lampooned in a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Ryan Gosling plays a man tortured by the fact that someone chose Papyrus for the title and subtitle of the hit movie Avatar

Quotes

“The life of a designer is a life of fight: A fight against ugliness.”
—Massimo Vignelli

“It’s through mistakes that you can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.” 
—Paula Scher

“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”
—Edwin Land

“Graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies, and humors.”
—George Santayana

“The public is more familiar with bad design than good design. It is, in effect, conditioned to prefer bad design because that is what it lives with.”
—Paul Rand

“Good design goes to heaven; bad design goes everywhere.” 
—Mieke Gerritzen

“Design cannot rescue failed content.” 
—Edward Tufte

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
—Mark Twain

“Design is intelligence made visible.”
—Alina Wheeler

“If no one hates it, no one really loves it.”
—Jessica Walsh

FAQ

What is a meme?

Memes are visual units of information that spread from person to person. Memes compete with one another for rapid proliferation, not unlike human genes.

Biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term meme in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene to explain how ideas mutate, evolve, and replicate.

What does “graphic design is my passion” mean?

“Graphic Design is my passion” is shorthand for lousy design. The now cliched phrase evolved out of a 2014 meme by Tumblr user Yungterra. It features a cartoon frog hovering in a cloudy sky with the text set in Papyrus.

What is bad design? 

Graphic design uses visual elements to communicate specific information. Bad design confuses that information. Here are five characteristics of bad design:

  1. Cluttered
  2. Inconsistent
  3. Confusing
  4. No hierarchy
  5. Poor user experience

Further Reading

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