Retail Kiosk Example | Real-life examples & Ideas for a retail kiosk

This post has been created to showcase a retail kiosk example that was used in Bluewater shopping centre.

Designing or building a retail kiosk can be a challenge.

I have written a helpful post on “how to design a retail kiosk in steps“. This post is to show a visual close up of what was involved in creating a kiosk in one of the larger shopping centres in the South East of England.

And, to show you some other examples of what a kiosk is.

A good question to ask yourself? What is a retail kiosk or kiosk store, and what are they for is answered directly below.

What is a kiosk?

A kiosk, or a retail kiosk, is a freestanding booth, installation, or cabin that is typically positioned in areas of high footfall.

You will often find retail kiosks positioned in:-

  • Shopping centres
  • Malls
  • Near areas of busy public transport such as train and bus stations
  • Tourist attractions
  • Festivals
  • Sports events

A kiosk (or retail kiosk) is a low-cost way of establishing a market presence and selling products to customers.

Retail kiosks are often used to sell consumer goods such as; food, beverages, accessories, merchandise, and help shoppers and tourists.

From a design and build perspective, kiosks are (typically) easier to build and remove opposed to shops.

Kiosks can be manned by one or two people.

A kiosk can be anything from a portable shack or shed – to a fiberglass cabin. Or something more bespoke and novelty, depending on budget and requirements.

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Retail Kiosk Examples

There many examples of retail kiosks out there including the one I co-designed here in this post (further down).

Below is a written list of kiosk examples you may find.

  • Icecream booths are often seen at beaches and seaside areas.
  • Burger shacks are kiosks you can see in a variety of places (market places).
  • Information kiosks are often self-service units used to help to find your way around.
  • Health and beauty kiosks are often seen in the main walkways of shopping malls.
  • Tourist information kiosks will either be a self-service or typically have an assistant operating from within. You will often find these near entrances and lobby areas.
  • Electronics, Smartphone accessory kiosks tend to operate in medium-sized malls. These booths will often sell cases and offer repairs.
  • General consumer goods kiosk. There is often a range of kiosks that will sell anything from belt-buckles to cookies.

Example drawings of kiosks (ideas)

Below is a range of kiosk examples and ideas to give you some guidance and inspiration.

retail kiosk example idea

Booth Kiosk or prefabricated type!

retail kiosk example horseshoe

An interesting shape for good access and visibility of products.

interactive kiosk idea / sketch

Robot Kiosk!

Bread bin kiosk idea

A gigantic bread bin as an example of eccentric kiosk design.

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Photographic Examples Of Kiosks

A mood board of kiosk photographs to show you what a kiosk can be. And, potentially give some ideas with the literal examples!

retail kiosk example (examples photographic)
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What is a kiosk store?

What is a kiosk store? A kiosk store is a kiosk or booth that concentrates on selling to consumers in a retail environment.

If you want to sell products from a booth or freestanding shack, these would be considered as “kiosk stores”. Also known as kiosk shops or derivatives of.

A kiosk store can be mass-made and modular by design, or it can bespoke. It all depends on what is required for space and how you want to create your kiosk. Budget, brand, and products will also affect your kiosk store.

The difference between a “kiosk” and a “kiosk store” is its intent. The kiosk store will aim to sell a product.

Is a retail kiosk profitable?

Whether a kiosk is profitable comes down to the kiosk design, the products, and where the kiosk is positioned? It can also depend on the mall.

Smaller shopping centres such as the ones found at services tend to have lower of footfall. This is due to the fact they have shops aimed toward for convenience instead of dedicated retail shopping.

Large shopping centres such as the ones in Westfields in London are likely to have a much larger footfall. It is to check whether an area for your kiosk will be profitable.

Yes, a retail kiosk can be profitable. You must sell products customers want to buy. You should also look for ways to reduce your overheads and spending to make a profit from your Kiosk.

From a design perspective, using premade or prefabricated elements for the kiosk or booth will lower the cost and potentially increase profit margins.

Bricks and mortar stores and the ailing high-street

I would like to be truthful here and mention that retail, in recent years has had a rough time economically. A kiosk instead of a shop can be a great way of testing a product. If the booth and product is a success. You can then consider creating shop installation – if your kiosk is profitable.

I believe some businesses are harder to emulate online, such as services, things you can smell and taste for example.

And having human interaction!

You can read more on how to design kiosk in steps.

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Project Bluewater Kiosk | A retail kiosk example

Designing a kiosk takes planning and thought. You will need to consider the floor space, how to store products. What will go where? Positioning…

“This theme offered a lot for creative freedom with cogs, gears, machines etc – it was easy to turn these into functioning assets.”

The design below used all of the methodologies mentioned throughout this post.

Example of a kiosk in Bluewater

The kiosk was designed to be eye-catching and fun! We wanted to pull the users in from the main walkways and look at the products.

retail kiosk example illustration visualization and mock up.

The illustration was used as an early look and feel for the kiosk. An idea for design intent. “proof of concept”. the proof of concept would have been shown to the landlords for early approval.

retail kiosk example copyright Satzuma
retail kiosk example
thanks team!
retail kiosk example
Product close up
Creating kiosk textures in Photoshop

Branded wooden fascias.

kiosk signage
Shelf for kiosk design | retail kiosk example

The idea of the Kiosk design

The kiosk design above was built upon a previous design that was as themed in the branding and marketing – The Gadget Factory.

The Gadget Factory was a brand story and backdrop that that was created to frame and style certain product ranges.

This theme offered a lot for creative freedom with cogs, gears, machines etc – it was easy to turn these into functioning assets. Neither was It was a stretch to transfer the concept to the kiosk.

These installations turned a few heads at shows. So, we wondered if this would translate to a kiosk?

We tweaked the design a little bit from a factory as this was a theme we’d used for a couple of years.

What would have been attached to the factory?

Warehouse and cargo.

So we really suped-up the whole import-export idea to the next level. I used the brand styling onto the boxes and theme.

You can look the gadget factory story / project in detail here

Example of the form and function of the Kiosk

The form and function of the kiosk was an important step for the kiosk design process. When designing some of the rough plans in with the look and feel, I considered how it would actually work and sell the products.

For example, how would a customer interact? How would the product be stored overnight? Where it was placed.

And generally, how would the kiosk be built!

We needed an idea, even if the main building wasn’t left to me (us).

These were all important steps in the Kiosk design. And hence, this is why the cargo wooden boxes tied in. They were modular, easy to stack, looked intentional. And could be painted easily.

And blended with the theme!

If you would like help with your kiosk design, you can read more on my services here | Kiosk design and visualization.

Conclusive Answer – what is a kiosk? Retail kiosk example

A kiosk is a freestanding booth, cabin or shack that is temporarily built, positioned, or installed. Kiosks are often found in walkways of shopping malls and retail centres. You will often find a kiosk in national parks, markets, and tourist spots too.

A retail kiosk is a great way of promoting a brand or selling a product without having to spend a fortune. You can also source ready-made kiosks which are often made from fibre glass.

retail kiosk example

Where to get retail kiosk example ideas?

The kiosk displayed above is an example of a retail outlet I co-designed. You can refer to the illustration for ideas kiosk examples. Another good place to find examples of kiosks is Pinterest.

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What is a “kiosk store?” ( In Detail )

Still confused as to what a kiosk store actually is? It’s not a shop or not quite a stall.

What is a kiosk store? A Kiosk is a booth, cabin or shack or outlet in which you can serve or help customers.

A kiosk store is a pop-up or temporary stand in which you can sell products or merchandise. Kiosks are not permanent fixtures although they can be integrated with the environment.

The merits of the kiosk store are that you can sell a range of products and merchandise. You can test the market before committing to a permanent shop or longer lease.

You may get a kiosk that has a lease for 3 months 6 months or a year. It comes down to how much pay the landlord for a lease on your store.

Being flexible and not fixed to a long term contract is another potential advantage to a kiosk store or shop.

Getting started on creating a pop-up kiosk store

Below is a shortlist of helpful tips to get you started on your first pop kiosk store! These are especially helpful if you are new to creating your own kiosk and are in the early stages of starting up your brand.

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Thank you for taking the time to look at the retail kiosk example

The retail kiosk example that I worked on, was created by myself and my past colleagues. My main role in kiosk creation was the design stage.

This particular kiosk design came after a few years of designing stands and installations. Many of these designs were used at international tradeshows for gifting and electronics.

My primary roles in this kiosk design were:

  • Conceptualisation and visualization in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator
  • Ideas generation
  • Drawing – in Photoshop – the look and feel for the kiosk
  • Model making for some of the displays
  • Designing signage
  • Designing marketing collateral to promote products at the kiosk
  • Liaising with retail and kiosk manufacturers.

I hope that this post has helped to answer what a retail kiosk is. What an example of a kiosk is ( Bluewater project ). And a couple of sketchy ideas for kiosk and booth designs.

Helpful tips for kiosk design, ideas, and creating a product

Posts for budding designers
Board game project – take a look!
Freelance Commercial Services (external website)

Jimmsdesign – retail kiosk example (examples) and kiosk ideas! “what is a retail kiosk!”

How to design a kiosk in steps

How to design a kiosk. Designing a kiosk for retail, be it for a mall or a shopping centre is challenging.

The quick-fire answer to how to design a kiosk is to look at the environment, get the plans, and dimensions and draw up your intent in a document.

“create a detailed plan drawing that illustrates the intent and clearly shows key information about its construction.”

To draw and up a plan for your kiosk you, will either need to draw it in 2D or create a 3D model. Or both.

Designing a kiosk that is suitable for retail and will sell your product as best as possible, is not a small undertaking.

I am going to share my experience of how to design a kiosk for a shopping centre – broken down into bite-size steps.

how to design a kiosk - diagram

Get your tape measure ready!

Actionable steps on how to design a kiosk

If you are looking to design your kiosk, these core stages will help you to pick through the design process.

It will also guide you on what you should do and what those behind the licensing of the kiosk may expect from your plan.

It should be noted here, as I am a designer that many of the steps and stages focus on concept, design, and planning stages.

Although I have an understanding of stand construction (even with a very distant background as a builders’ labourer).

My professional focus is in the design field, rather than implementation.

Below is a guide of what to use to design a retail kiosk.

Core stages on how to design a retail kiosk ( 1,2,3 )

1 ) Get the plan and technical information for the available space

2 ) Enquire about any limitations with regards to the kiosk design – what you can and can’t do

3 ) See the environment if you can, size up the competition

5 ) Conceptualise the design and try to stand out from the crowd (send a proof)

6 ) Consider the customer experience when they use the kiosk or stand

7 ) Polish up the rough drawings and design ready submitted to the mall

8 ) Amend design if needed (make sure you have factored in safety)

9 ) Make sure your design is easy to understand for the stand builder

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Kiosk Design | Get a plan and information for your retail space

Before opening up any design packages or generally getting too carried away the experience, make sure to get the space information.

Eg, the floor plan and dimensions.

This stage is essential. If you leave getting all of the specifics about your space and information to the end of the project, you run the risk of hitting delays.

Worse still, having to redesign entire sections of your kiosk.

Get the information first, or at least! As early on as possible.

If you are considering designing your own kiosk, these tips will save you a lot of trouble later on.

With this still in the back of your mind, if you have any questions you can request my kiosk design services here.

The kiosk planning stage – get a floor plan

Get the dimensions for your space and see what you need to work with.

Often malls and retail centres will have a top-down view or plan and layout of the area. It is better still if they have the written dimensions of your allocated space.

This will save you the trouble of having to go to the shopping centre to take measurements.

In addition to the floor plan to help you design a kiosk. Any diagrams with notification of electrical points, fire exits, ventilation, and sprinklers will be important to know about and should be factored into your design.

plan

How to design a kiosk | what you can and can’t do with the design

Knowing your limitations with the kiosk and retail space is just as important as to know what you can do with space.

All malls and retail centres are different.

You will find some retail centres are stricter, and others have basic requirements with the visual design.

It is also good to know the limitations and rules on what type of lighting you can and can’t use.

Knowing these rules and limitations for your kiosk design will help you with your design and save headaches further down the line when it comes to the final design and implementation.

Ignoring the rules is a likely way of delaying getting your kiosk or booth open to the public.

When it comes to kiosk design for a retail centre. *You can’t do anything that will pose a fire or safety risk to others.

You can’t build outside of your allocated area and you shouldn’t block items such as sprinklers and ventilation.

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How to design a kiosk | Visit The Shopping Centre

If at all possible, I would recommend going to the shopping mall where your kiosk will be situated.

For myself, I find this a key stage in the creative process.

I want create the best customer experience possible. I want to put myself in their shoes!

how to design a kiosk illustration of crowd flow


By going to the environment where your kiosk will be built, it will potentially help you with the design concept.

It covers you for the unexpected.

It helps you to size up what the competition and lastly, you can observe the shoppers behaviour. Not to mention helping to see what is really going on with other shops and stalls.

When it comes to kiosk design, this is an ideal that I can come to the centre, but sometimes this isn’t always possible.

If you can’t visit in person, you can always get somebody at the company commissioning the kiosk design to take pictures. Or a member of the team to go.

How to design ‘your’ kiosk – perks of visiting your area

As already mentioned before, and especially if you are designing your kiosk in-house. I would strongly advise that you visit the space where you intend to build.

This is important for both the kiosk concept and the practicalities.

This is a small list of why it will benefit you in designing your kiosk :

  • Allows you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes
  • Helps you to spot things and anomalies not on your plan supplied by the license givers
  • Shows how you will compare to other kiosk and shops
  • You will be able to see where people come and go in the mall
  • It will allow you to take your own pictures
  • And you can make additional measurements if required

To list a few.

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Kiosk Design | How to conceptualise and draw ideas

When considering how to design a kiosk, it is important to consider how the whole concept will work.

Gather as many facts and inspiration as necessary to create a kiosk that is practical and engaging. For inspiration, you may wish to look at websites such as Pinterest or go to shopping malls for ideas.

When I am engaged in a kiosk design project, I use those approaches as needed.

The concept stage of myself is the stage where permit the chance to jump in with both feet!

And if you have followed this guide so far…

You can too.

how to design a kiosk rough drawing

As a reminder to help you with how to conceptualise your kiosk make a note of the following:

  • How can I design a kiosk that stands out based on the limitations?
  • What are the business goals of the company?
  • Who is the target demographic?
  • How does the kiosk design plan need to be submitted?
  • To what capacity do you need have plan, eg 2 pages, 5 pages 10 pages.

Many of my past kiosk design projects have focused on creating a retail experience that makes the customer say –

“WHOA! What’s that!”

– Imaginary customer

In hopes to pull the customer toward the stand engage with the brand and product. Or at least that is what I aim for.

How “you” can conceptualise and design a kiosk

I would advise all of what I mentioned above if you are designing your own kiosk. Get the facts, get the plan, get the measurements, find out about health and safety.

And then –

Design your kiosk.

When conceptualising your kiosk, you should consider how the user will engage with the stand. Make good use of design to help sell the product to reinforce the brand image.

Also, on a practical note.

The kiosk design needs to work for all parties – including the staff. And storing the product after hours.

If you are also on a budget, you should also consider how this will affect the cost of the build. The plan and concept is just one stage.

Kiosk Concept Design Services

As part of my commercial design services, I can draft up a concept design for you to pitch. These services cover kiosk illustration, plan drawings, thoughts abstracts, and ideas.

All of which can be compiled together into a single PDF at the end of the project.

Freelance kiosk and retail design services UK >

A good customer experience and making a sale

When creating a kiosk, I take into account how the kiosk will be used by both the brand and the consumer.

In addition to designing a retail kiosk that resonates with the audience, you should also strive to make it profitable for your business.

And In order to help make the kiosk as profitable as it can be. I have asked what products the client sells.

With regards to making a good sale, you should also think about what product you would like to sell first.

Keep your kiosk easy to use, fun, and easy to sell from.

With the kiosk design, consider consumer psychology

As much as I personally dislike the manipulation to get people to spend more than they need in the supermarkets. You cannot deny that the tactics used are clever.

how to design a kiosk brain

You may believe that buying a product is a logical / considered thing. It is and it isn’t. Many customers make purchases on emotion and impulse too.

An inate need that they need more than they actually do – “just in case”

Examples of visual persuasion and tactical positioning in retail :-

  • Placing low-cost sweets at a checkout.
  • Putting big red signs saying “deal to be had”.
  • Placing items in areas where people loiter or come and go.

None of these tactics are new. And none are by accident.

But they do offer an interesting lesson that can be taken away. This all steers a sale. it ties in with positioning

Notes for steering a sale with your retail booth *kiosk

As part of my design process, these are just some of the factors and questions I will use when designing a new kiosk, including the all-important signage!

– Who are the products for?

– How can I make the best of the product space?

– Does the theme and visual design tie together with the brand story?

– Are there signs showing the customer where to look?

– Where can you can put important products?

– Create an area for low, medium, and high-end products (adopt the rule of second crappest
Post on another website, (love this post)

– Are there spaces where the customer may linger?

– Is it easy to move around and browse?

– Will lighting illuminate the products?

These are some of the questions I will ask the client or myself in the “design thinking’ stage of the project.

diagram

If you are designing your own kiosk and would like help with the concept or thinking stage. You can read more about my Freelance Creative Direction services here.

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How to design a kiosk | Come to an agreement and speed up the process

By this stage ( or if earlier ), I would have illustrated a 2D visual – a mock-up of the kiosk.

To create this render, mock or illustration I would have used the processes above.

The kiosk concept is important, as is the information you supply about it’s design to the landlords and those granting a license.

You will need to come to an agreement with the design.

After all, the ones granting permission to use their space typically have the final say on the design.

One of my biggest tips I can give you if you are designing your kiosk in-house. Is to create some rough ideas and renders first.

Once you have created some of these polished illustrations or renders of the kiosk. Send them off for initial approval.

If this initial design is approved.

Then add the details ‘after’ this stage of the kiosk design process

kiosk

If you send a 100% polished final design of your kiosk draft of your design and it needs to be changed – as design often does. then you may have to go over the entire design document and make those changed throughout.

Instead of having to change just a couple of items on your plan.

Don’t be cheeky either.

Remember what I said about who gets the last say? The chances are, if you are the stand designers who have been granted permission/lease for space – it isn’t you!

Getting your design accepted and then changing your build that deviates too far from the design plan is a huge no-no.

Don’t do it.

This will most likely cause you kiosk delays in the opening if you worry or annoy the landlords.

Do what you agreed in the plan. As much as you can!

Important in kiosk creation – “DO NOT” do this with your kiosk

“Do stick to the agreement.”

The plan – the kiosk concept -once finished and signed off by those granting the lease, should be adhered to. This is a mutual agreement between both you the stand builder on the mall offering the lease for you to place or build a kiosk.

The design plan is in place for you to stipulate your intent and for those granting the lease to see what you intend to do.

This the opportunity for both parties to land on the same page and be happy to go ahead.

Do not do anything that deviates too far from the design plan.

A ‘qualified; stand builder should be allowed room to execute their knowledge. The stand builders should know their craft and will flag when something is a bit off with your idea, it is a good idea to do this during the design process, if possible.

But even with the best intentions, things may arise were ‘minor changes’ need to occur.

be straight
Don’t be a geezer! – be straight an open with the design.

Minor changes…

If you decide to build custom shutters, new fixtures, wacky lights, things that block or stop ventilation and this is not shown on the original plan – which was agreed.

The solicitors or those granting the lease will either tell you to change it, amend the plan or they will stop you from opening the kiosk.

“that was not was agreed!”

Making substantial changes like this without consulting the landlords / those offering you space is a pointless risk in which you are the only one likely to lose.

Don’t be sketchy.

If you need to make substantial changes, later on, tell everybody involved and amend the design plan.

How to design your kiosk | amend the design if required

By this stage, you should be moving toward the completion of the kiosk design.

If you followed the previous steps, then you will have already shown an illustrated or 3D mock-up of your design.

Working on the design of your retail kiosk in incremental stages is better and saves time in releasing a big 15-page document in 1 go.

Imagine drawing the kiosk 10 or 15 times only to be told you need to change it across all 10 pages of the design document?

That adds a lot of bloat and time to get your design plan completed for your kiosk and may delay in the kiosk installation.

As preferred method, and when possible. I like to submit early design visuals before tightening up on the details.

If you are very lucky, you may not need to amend you design information. And, if this is the case. You can submit your design document and mark it as complete.

Get the sign off from the parties involved in running the mall. And you are getting closer to building your kiosk.

Preparing the PDF document of your booth concept for the landlord

If you are a qualified designer, you will be familiar with the different programs you can use to wrap up all of the documents into one neat and tidy plan.

As a general guide, if you are not using a standardised piece of software that creates documents. You can either go to a ‘Save As’ under file > menu or more often than not “export’ which will give similar document saving options.

If you are a Graphic Designer, then you can either use Adobe Indesign, Illustrator of Adobe Acrobat to compile together the images and artwork into a single PDF plan.

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How to design your kiosk | getting it ready kiosk/stand builder

By this point, you will have most likely had your design signed off and be ready for the visualisation to be turned into something tangible for retail.

You may or may not have had the stand builders involved for consultation in the early stages.

The communication with the stand builders is an important step. When working with stand builders on the installation of the kiosk, make sure the document is easy to read and follow.

Clearly write the measurements, the materials, the functionality, lighting information on the design plan.

Make it easy to read and understand as much as possible.

Example of the project for Bluewater (inspiration)

As part of a project for a new retail unit that was to be put into Bluewater shopping centre – I was heavily involved in the kiosk design.

These visuals I am sharing are from that kiosk design. You may be interested In looking at these for inspiration on your kiosk design.

The design followed many of the core processes and principle mention throughout.

Branding, modular design and methods for easy storage and stacking to name a few.

Along with the team I worked with at the time, we also visited the retail centre before creating the design.

Have a look at the images for your own reference and inspiration.

Project for Bluewater

how to design a kiosk
panel design
crate faces for kiosk
crate faces 2 - how to design a kiosk

These are just some of the artboards that contributed to the project.

how to illustrate a kiosk
Rough Mock Up

The image of the concept above is another example of a booth or kiosk concept that would be presented to a landlord.

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How to save money on your kiosk design

To save money on your kiosk design you should consider “modular design”. Modular design, or designing your kiosk in a way that it can easily be taken down and assembled elsewhere is a strong money-saving tactic.

Another simple way to save money on your kiosk design.

Present your rough ideas sooner rather than later. Don’t wait to show your best-polished work to the very end of the near building stage. Time is money. Show your design intent sooner rather than later to those offering a lease.

Last tip for reducing cost on kiosk design – look and ready-made solutions.

The more ‘bespoke’ your kiosk design is. The more likely you are to need to spend money on custom installation and building.

The design above is an example of a kiosk design that uses the modular method. This is so it can be assembled and taken down more easily and potentially moved to another shopping centre in the future.

sourcing for your booth!

You can also consider what resources are available to you. Such as this crate!

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How to design your retail booth (in-house)

By following the steps above you should design your own kiosk in stages and by following the limitations set in the plan.

Consider the materials, branding, cost, and work hours to build and install the kiosk also.

Designing a kiosk is not a small undertaking. You should seek advice from those that know how to build kiosk and from the owners.

IF you would like any help with your kiosk design I would be more than happy to get involved.

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How to design a kiosk for retail – the conclusion

In order to design a kiosk that is suitable for a retail environment, your need to create a detailed plan drawing that illustrates the intent and clearly shows key information about its construction.

With regards to useful information to include on the construction plan, you should consider adding the following pieces of information:-

  • Kiosk size and floor plan with measurements
  • An illustration or render of the kiosk
  • Detailed pull-outs of what is happening with the construction
  • Notes on materials
  • Where electrical points will need to be added.
  • How and where customers can pay
  • Storage
  • How the Kiosk can be made secure overnight.

There are many factors that you may need to be included in your kiosk design plan. And to what degree and detail you need to create your proposal,l is down to your and the owners of the mall that are leasing you space.

Help with ‘designing’ your kiosk

If you have found this article helpful and over you, some step by step guidelines follow you may also be interested in contacting me or looking at my freelance kiosk design services.

Feel free to share this article to any budding kiosk or retail designers.

Below are some other helpful links

Retail and kiosk design-related posts

Packaging design samples

How to design a stem product

product design ideas

Creating a USB flash drive

The Design Journey

How to pitch and game and make money

How to draw on a computer with a stylus and tablet

External Design Services

Kiosk Design UK

Freelance board game design

Kickstarter campaign designer

*The kiosk design is copyright copyrighted to the respective business. Do not use. – Thank you for reading – jimmsdesign. Steps on how to design a kiosk.

How to create a Stem product
Press to read this!

Packaging Examples

Press image to see these!

Example of a Snakes and Ladders board game | design project

This project is an example of a Snakes and Ladders board game that I had the privilege in being involved in creating!

Many elements of this game, uses the Snakes & Ladders mechanics and adds additional aspects to the gameplay.

Example of a Snakes and Ladders board game - game board

Additional elements included items such as game cards and collectible tokens. Or to be specific, Bones! Which were needed to complete the game and the end of the player journey.

You will find this post helpful if you are looking for ideas and inspiration to create or commission your own Snakes and ladders styled game.

I will cover my creative process and journey in helping to bring my client’s passion project to life – here is an example of a snakes and ladders type game. Which I had the pleasure of helping to create!

Or, as it was actually called in the end.

DINO BREAK

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Creating a Snakes & Ladders type game

It is unfair to say that this is only a Snakes & Ladders game.

For example, when you play Snakes and Ladders, you roll a dice and move around the board trying to dodge the snakes and use the ladders as shortcuts.

With Dino Break, the game combines both challenging questions and token collection to win the game.

When the player lands on the spaces around the board, You ( the player ) must take a card from the deck and read aloud the questions which are themed around dinosaurs (palaeontology).

If the player gets the question correct, they take a token.

You need 6 tokens to win the game and free your friend.

This is an example of what can be done with Snakes & Ladders as a framework and adding to it.

To create the Dino Break game, including the mechanics of the game. It borrowed many of the gameplay elements from snakes and ladders and pushed it to new levels.

Extra parts were added to the game including cards, questions, points, and ‘nasty cards’ that cost the player points.

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Examples of the complete prototype game

This is the printed prototype of the game complete with the outer box, game board, cards, rules, and tokens.

The look and the feel for the game were established once the core design had been created.

Example of a Snakes and Ladders board game - Game Box
Freelance game box graphic design
Example of a Snakes and Ladders board game - bottom

The narrative for Dino Break

Most of the core mechanics of the game were already supplied to me before I itemised what was needed for this jailbreak/snakes and ladder-type game.

Part of my core roll for this game was the creation of the game narrative. I created a story that would be told through the visuals and character design for the game. – The theme.

It was already established that the players would need to save or free a creature at the end of the game to win.

In order to win the game and free the prisoner, something would need to be collected throughout the game. Tokens, that would represent points.

This allowed for plenty of room for experimentation and the direction of the visual narrative. I took down the path of cartoon prehistoric.

Game Prototype - inside contents
Example of a Snakes and Ladders board game - cards
Visual design for game tokens
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Characters for the game | the players

The other part of my involvement in the making of this game was in creating character concepts. As an extra layer, I suggested that there should be a ‘good team’ and ‘bad’ team.

Protagonist and antagonist.

By default, you would assume that a bloodthirsty Dinosaur would be a villain. A big toothy dinosaur that eats little friendly dinosaurs or cave people!

I wanted to make this breakout game a bit different. Instead of villainous creatures. I made the cavemen the villains and the Dinosaurs the friendly ones – or the hunted!

The Players | The Crazy Saurs

As part of the game, I came up with 4 different playable characters ( and 2 blank playing cards ) in which you can play as any of the 4 different Dinosaurs or … Crazy Saurs

Vector Dinosaurs for Board game Copyrighted - Dino Break
Crazy Saur Vector illustration
A character design! More can be read on my character and vector design services on this website
Character Sketches

The Friendly Saurs

The Friendly Saur is the character you need to save from the cavemen. Collect the 6 tokens to free the Friendly Saur. As with the other designs, this character was sketched out and drawn in Adobe Illustrator as part of my contracting service.

The Cave Man

The cavemen were the villains of the peace in this game. I wanted to cast them as villainous thugs that wanted nothing more than to make Dino soup!

All characters are copyrighted.

These characters were created as part of my game design and also my character design services that go into greater detail on this website. You can read more there.

Creative process to making a snakes and ladders board game (Dino Break)

As a further example of making snakes and ladders board game, I wanted to share some of the stages and processes of creating the game.

A “very rough” post-it note prototype of the game was sent emailed to me to inspect and decide and the best course of action.

I broke project down into manageable stages. Considering how I would need to achieve x y z on a budget.

Once the core goal was agreed. I set about roughing out the concept for the characters and the look and feel for the game.

Some minor suggestions were offered to the “mission” of the game. How to win.

With the concept, I took it as a snake and ‘laddersesque’ game and considered what we could do differently from a design standpoint. Everybody knows Snakes and Ladders – but what could be done differently.

I offered a range of ideas for the core components. Here is a rough list of core components for the game prototype.

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Dino Break rough components and cutting list

  • Create the characters and character cards
  • Playing cards
  • Rules
  • Tokens
  • Game board
  • Top of game box
  • Bottom of game box
  • Other bits and pieces

For milestones for the clients and to keep everybody as involved as possible. I showed the project to the clients to keep them in the loop.

I polished the design until it was complete.

Once the visual design was complete along with the flat mockup, I sent the game artwork away to be printed.

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Example of Snakes and Ladders board game – Dino Break

This game allowed me to flex my design muscles and jump in with both feet.

The project was an example of how you can create a game prototype and how you can create a retail and pitch ready prototype of your game.

You may also feel inspired by this board game example to create your own project.

Thank you for reading.

"I was very impressed with the work itself and your designs were exactly what me and the child had in mind.

You kept to deadlines and were very punctual and took on board any amendments and got these done quickly.

You were a great businessman but also a fantastic person to work with. And you should be proud of the service you provided as you made one little boy's dreams come true." - Anonymous. (Dino break)

If you would like to read more on board game design related articles you can do so by following the links below.

Helpful board game creation articles

How to create a retail ready party game

How do you get into the board game industry

Getting your board ready to pitch to the retailers

Additional Articles – Computer games

Creating STEM products

Example of creating an E-learning computer game (in steps)

Freelance Game Design Services

Board game designer based in the UK
Vector Illustration services (character design)
Creative Direction

Snakes and Ladders board game - Service and design

This article is an example of an educational snakes and ladders board game. All content design, cards, characters are copyright to their respective owners. DO NOT STEAL THIS ARTWORK or claim this game as your own.

How to get into the board game design industry

This post has been written to answer how to get into the board game design industry and what you can do to potentially get through those elusive hidden board game industry doors.

Getting into the board game industry is both simple yet difficult. When you know how and where to look, it Is simple.

When you do not know where to begin, getting into the board game industry is difficult, or at least finding the hidden doors is hard.

Boardgame design is experiencing a creative renaissance and there is no better time to join this growing fun and creative business. Nobody could blame you for wanting to work for a board game company at this time.

Getting involved in the industry is fun, creative, and rewarding!

how to get into board game design industry - header

What does it really mean to be In the board game industry?

Many board game designers are individuals and small teams with board game design being their passion. Their companies and side projects may run secondary to another main source of income.

In other words, their board game companies are paid hobbies that may bring them additional income and fulfilment.

These are all people who have got into the industry and make up for a large portion of the creators behind board games and the creative board game development.

Many of these smaller independent games design companies might be friends, partners, husband and wife teams etc which make up the board game ‘in’ crowd.

To get into the board game design industry, these smaller teams started to create games for the love of making games and published their own.

The smaller studios and tabletop game developers often grow their companies from a side passion to something that can earn money and allow them to continue to make board games.

Of how to get into the board game design industry and get involved with the big publisher to sell your game – that’s a battle in itself and are 2 very different doors into the industry.

Details below, if you are looking at working in the tabletop gaming industry, want to work for a game publisher or sell your game, idea or product then this helpful post is for you.

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how to get into the board game design industry and work with smaller publishers and designers

If you are just starting out, looking to change career, or launch a passion project you can start creating your board game now.

There is no harm in starting small on a hobby project and working your way up to the bigger companies later if that is what you want to do.

There is also no shame in working with smaller companies and staying with little studios. By being part of a small team or going solo, you can get hands on experience with game design and development on many levels and in many “departments”.

As with various creative roles in the smaller outfits, it is a great way of being shown the ropes when you are part of a small unit.

But, even getting involved with smaller studios can be a challenge if you don’t want to go solo or you are just starting out.

Here are some tips on how to get into the board game industry and work with smaller developers and publishers.

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Steps on how to get involved with (smaller businesses) in the board games industry

1 ) Have an interest in board games! This should be a given, but if you want to create some games, great! If you just want to make quick money, consider other careers.

2 ) Start creating games. Make it all about the game and the enjoyment of creating games. If you are stuck for ideas consider making a personal game project with a pencil and paper. You can make a fan game to, like this website shows – how to create a HeroQuest style game.

3 ) Take an interest in other games that have been created. Ideas rarely come from nowhere! Show interest in what types of games you like to play.

4 ) Sign up to board game forums and become an active member

5 ) Hang around with board game creators! You can attend various meetups and casual board game events

6 ) Network work extensively

Network with games companies - into the board game design

That list of steps is a simplified way of what you can do to get into the tabletop gaming business and work with the smaller studios and independent makers.

There are many ways of accessing the industry and at varying levels.

And to be involved – is to be involved!

Enjoy games and meet people that also enjoy creating games, make connections In the gaming field.

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how to access the board game industry and sell your game (small scale)

If you want to get serious and commercialise your game, meeting the right people is both important to this goal and challenging.

But how do you make these all-important contacts?

It is a case of where to be and where to look.

The most simple first step to making some initial contact in the industry is by going onto forums, looking at board game directories, and seeing what companies you find on Google.

This is the most straightforward, but in my opinion – not the most effective solution for making contacts in the board game industry.

Meeting face-to-face and showing what you can do is better. You can build up a rapport and discuss board games there and then. Be it at a show or a networking event.

So ‘where’ to meet these contacts and get into the board game design industry.

Get involved with the board game industry by attending shows and conventions

One of the best ways of getting involved with the board game industry is by showing up to conventions and shows and saying “hi”. Go to the boardgame stands, say hello and talk about your passion and see where it may lead!

Going to conventions and shows will also broaden your view on the industry as a whole. You get to meet companies that focus on party games, board games for the family, adult games, card games, poker games, RPG’s, science fiction, fantasy, games for young children!

There are too many to list.

Going to shows is a big way to build those all-important contacts.

Another way of getting into the industry, is through self-proclamation!

how to get into board game design industry - publish your own!

Self-publish your board game! “I am a board game developer”

I am a board game designer! Therefore, I am part of the board game industry!.

Another way to get into the board game design industry is by creating your own games and products. You may have already created your own game or aspire to create a game. By actually creating a game or products around gaming you can say –

“You are part of the board game industry”

To what capacity? That can be left to interpretation.

Creating a game and building a board game design career

The main focus of this article is on how to get into the board game design industry and creating your own games is early access to this.

I do not wish to deviate too much into the intricacies of creating a board game in this article. Creating board games is a skill in itself that deserves more than just a few sentences.

You can read more on creating a retail-ready game here if you want to focus on board game creation and selling your own products.

If you would like help with creating your game, you may also wish to look at the board game design services page or get in touch via my contact form.

Creating your first game or board game product is a great way of getting into board game creation. You can learn a lot from even just making a prototype. You can either pitch your prototype to a company or look at selling it yourself.

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Getting involved with the big board game publishers (selling to and working with)

Getting into the board game design industry is challenge number 1. Eg create a game or fan game) and show what you can do. Set up a business.

But.

Working ‘with’ or ‘in’ the BIG board game companies is a separate challenge in itself, and tough inner circle to break into.

Because it is hard to get into, it certainly doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it. Especially from a financial or publicity standpoint.

Here are few listed benefits as to why getting your board game into a larger board game can help your and your board game development career.

The benefits of getting your game in with a big company (selling your game)

  • Larger market penetration and industry coverage. The larger board game companies – publishers and distributors are more likely to have the retail and business channels to sell more copies of your board game in higher volumes. They might be good to approach after you have also (potentially) created a Kickstarter, if crowdfunding is a path you take.
  • Great marketing for your board game. At first, getting your name out there can be a huge advantage for the future and for growing your board game design business.
  • More revenue – Having more revenue isn’t the same as having a higher margin (making more money per individual unit) The the big retailers are likely to shift larger volumes of your game than just you on your own.

More on the example below.

Selling your game through a larger board game company vs do it yourself – rough example

Although “do it yourself” is a great way of getting into the board game industry, you will have to out a lot of energy into multiple avenues of the business. As opposed to the bigger business may be able to sell your game in larger volumes.

Do it yourself method

You sell 100 units, throw all of your time and energy into distribution and logistics – earn £3 (profit) unit for example per game. You take away £300

Selling your game through a large publisher or distributor (getting involved with the companies)

As an example, you sell 10,000 units through a board game publisher or distribution company and earn £2 per unit. (rough example – NEVER a guarantee)

Per unit, that is less.

The publishers will take a larger cut – BUT – you earn £2 x 10,000 = £20,000. The bigger companies have access and possibly bigger selling power.

Not only will you be more likely to sell higher volumes through a board game distributor or publisher. It will allow you to focus more on board game development and design. If that is what you want to do.

To get involved with the large publishers can be difficult if you are starting out in your career. The next section focuses on how to get into the board game design industry and work with the big board game companies.

“The easier you make it for the businesses to sell your game and increase ‘their’ revenue. The easier you will make it for yourself.”

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How to get your board game into the big companies, publishers and retailers

If you are board game designer and developer or an aspiring creator! You may have ambitions to get your game into the big publishers and distributors.

As with any businesses, and contrary to popular belief, most companies and buyers are risk-averse. If working with you and your game proves to be a potential risk with weak financial returns, they won’t sell your game.

To get involved with the big companies in the board game industry, make your game retail-ready and full or promise.

The easier you make it for the businesses to sell your game and increase ‘their’ revenue. The easier you will make it for yourself.

In other words, earn more revenue for them and earn more revenue yourself.

Sell your game - into the board game design

Getting yourself and your board game ready for retail

In order to get into the board game industry, I have written a couple of design-focused entrepreneurial tips that will help you in creating a game for retail in mind.

Creating your game and playing it is one thing but creating game that gets the attention of the bigger businesses is another.

Ways you can pitch a retail-ready game.

* it should be noted that reading posts and saying “is that all” it takes is not the best mindset to start on. Creating games and creating games ready to be sold is a big time consuming effort and can be a labour of love many.

Tick boxing alone, will not guarantee the success of a game. Use your initiative, use critical thinking, and be prepared to try and try again to crack that industry!

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How to work for a board game company (in house, freelance)

To work for a board game company you need to prove that you can work in a relevant field in the board game industry and also work as part of a team!

There are various skills, roles and departments for budding games designers to consider :

  • Boardgame designer
  • – Graphic designer and artists
  • – Illustrator and artists
  • – Concept artist
  • – Writers and board game editors
  • – Story writing
  • – 3D modellers
  • – Sculptors (traditional and 3D)
  • – Moulders and casters
  • – 3D printing services
  • – Prototype makers
  • – Card designers and printers
  • – Logistics and warehouses
  • – E-tailers and retailers
  • – Play testers
  • – Sales
  • – Administrative positions!
  • – Translators

Also, being a creative director, producer or MD.

To answer “how to work for a board game company“, be it freelance, contract, or in-house, you should consider working on skills that will lend itself to the game company you wish to work for or with.

As with the list of skills and roles above, this is a glance at some or the roles and departments available that you can work in. If you wish to work in a more permanent position at a company or a board game publisher you should network and look on job boards to find the ideal position for you.

You may also need to be prepared to move location for most jobs if you wish to work in-house.

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What is the ‘best’ way of getting work in the board game industry?

There isn’t a single and clear cut path of how to get into the board game industry, each journey and career will be unique to the individual.

To choose which is the best way, as based on opinion, experience, and observations on how to get into the board games business. I would say the following are some of the best and most prominent ways of getting into the tabletop gaming industry.

1) Have a passion for tabletop games or/and creating games

2) Meet the right people for your game niche and share passion, knowledge, and skills with games and creating games.

3) Attend trade shows and make contacts. Network with other board game creators * ( personnel and favourite/ best method)

4) Look on jobs boards in the creative industries and dedicated board game communities. Facebook and Board game geek

5) ‘Niche’ on a certain skills and keep scouring the communities equipped with a portfolio or examples of what you can do!

6 ) And above all else – the best way on getting into the board games is to keep trying if you are passionate about board games!

We found these contacts mostly through trade shows and events.

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How to get into board game design industry | A firsthand account

I wanted to discuss my first-hand account of how I became involved in the board game industry and how you may find my story interesting or helpful in your creative journey!

Game example - into the board game design

I was involved In creating a party game at my previous job. It was created as part of “Product Development – innovation engine” which was a weekly process that was rolled out from 2016.

I and the team at the time realised that a game might be popular. It was inspired by something a colleague had seen on TV. I was sceptical initially but I was won around. (good job!)

We spent a few months designing and developing a party game.

The game was a commercial success and we went on to develop more products and expansion at the request of a large board game retailer. This opened a very wide door to more investment.

From there other retailers also requested the game. It grew in popularity in the UK.

We found these contacts mostly through trade shows and events. They were a mixture of board game distribution companies, smaller retailers, and high-street shops.

That was my first-hand experience in working commercially in board games and 1 first-hand example of how to get into the board games industry.

Off my own back.

I then started to find more contacts at conventions and shows. Many of the these people I networked with were a mixture of small independent game designers to larger-scale board game developers.

And to this day, I am always looking for ways of building new contacts and ways I can help independent board game developers create their game.

That was an (‘is’) part of my professional journey.

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An example of how to start early – get your children to start making games!

This is an example of somebody that has the will and drive to create something they love! This person was undeterred by pessimism, cynicism, and the knowledge of money!

Just the want and the like of creating their own game. I think there is a lesson us adults we can learn here.

* For confidentially, I cannot mention in detail about the parties involved.

I wanted to draw your attention to this prototype by a budding game designer. ( my part was in the visual and creative design + getting it ready to look at )

The client started first by drawing a rough game on post-it notes and mapping out the game.

Self-publish game - into the board game design

They had already playtested and worked out the mechanics before contacting me. They just wanted to figure out “how to make it”.

From the rough prototype. I came up with visuals, character vectors and ideas how it would look and what was going on.

I had the joy of designing the box art, the game cards, conceptualising and creating the dinosaurs, the caveman, tokens, and the board!

This is an example of what you can do if you decide to go down the self-publish route.

Create a pitch ready prototype!

how to get into board game design industry printed!

Having something physical to show looks both professional and that you are serious and passionate about the board game industry. This will be your early steps of how to get into the board game design industry

People are often tactile and like to look by touch also.

Design services

How to get into the board game design industry – The final answer

To consolidate and simplify the answer, there are a couple of main routes on how to work in the board games industry.

The main path is by making the right contacts at shows, conventions, and events – meeting the right people in senior positions at board game companies will put you at a strong advantage.

Another alternative way of getting into the board game industry is by creating and publishing your own game and making yourself part of the industry.

The final point for you to get into the industry is by looking at niche board game job boards or job boards in creative industries. Look on Facebook and Board Game Geek also

With many creative businesses – a big part of it is, who you know, what you can do.

Love (or like) what you do!

that is how you can get into the board game industry. Persistence, passion, and having a lot of good relevant business contacts in the business. And trial and error, luck and determination.

If you have found this post helpful, feel free to share. All the best in your board game creation career.

In your journey into getting into the Boardgame design business you may also find some of the following articles helpful.

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Other helpful topics to help you get into the industry

How to commercialise and sell your board game

Steps on creating a successful retail-ready party game

Getting to grips with drawing on a computer with a graphics tablet (creating digital artwork)

Product design – Stem cardboard products

Packaging projects for the high-street

How to create STEM or learning product you can sell

Creative board game services (Design website)
into the board game design

Freelance vector illustration and character design for your board game

– Table top, card and board game design services

External Website for getting into tabletop board game development

How to create your own private of fan type game for yourself (inspired by HeroQuest)

The games and images in this article are all copyrighted, please do not use or distribute. Handy tips – how to get into the board game design industry and how to work for a board game company.

“NETWORK!”

Why are Graphic Designers so arrogant?

An interesting question came up when looking for things to write about, “why are graphic designers so arrogant?

Wow, I was surprised at this oddly common question to come up when doing my research.

How to answer this is tricky, but I do have my theories based on experience and general attitudes I have come across. As a short answer, I believe that question has come about as a mixture of client perceptions and expectations, designers taking pride in what they (we) do.

why are graphic designers so arrogant
why are graphic designers so arrogant….

The “yes sir” designer, the ones that take orders and maybe earlier on in the career. And the more experienced designer, offer advice and consultation when it’s not wanted or expected.

Some might call this unsolicited advice.

As a designer, you need to discern what is expected of you from either of these two main expectations.

Why Graphic Designers are so arrogant.

Good Graphic Designers, by and large, want to make a mark and a good impression. This could be why a passionate designer may also come across as being arrogant and being full of self-worth.

But, I actually think that the majority of the people asking this question are those that are not used to working with designers. Design, as such isn’t really a commodity that is easy to weigh and measure as you can sugar and grain.

At least, that is my main belief. And still, if asked will try to itemise my services for ease of my clients and new business.

What is listed above is my main view.

But…

Is there more to this perception – egotistical design?

As a collective generalisation based Google Search, are Graphic Designers arrogant? Are we pompous? Or is it the case that companies and businesses think our job is easy and expect less from us? OR they are just uncertain as to the different types of designers out there?

Hmm…

Are you reader, the believer that all Graphic Designers or full of it?

Is it the iMacs? Or the glasses? The style – ah… style do you believe we put style over the substance? Perhaps some of us do. But good design shouldn’t be just about style.

why are graphic designers so arrogant - search

Here are some other theories as to why graphic designers are seen to be arrogant and egotistical.

Possibly…

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Your Types of Designer & Non-Designer

Graphic Design has become more commonplace and a much more accessible profession, with somebody that knows somebody who is a designer. There dog, a neighbour, a nephew, etc etc.

This is both a positive and negative influence on this creative industry.

With the over-saturation of Graphic Designers on the market or at least individuals claiming to be, this has lead to the reasons as to why graphic designers are being paid so little. There is an overabundance design supply to design demand.

You can easily find a Graphic Designer anywhere!

Whether they are good or experienced designers is another question. The point being is there are many – too many! Claiming to be Graphic Designers.

You can find some Graphic Designers who are very skilled and talented that didn’t study go to college but these individuals are much rarer. ( as a note, a degree or higher education isn’t a right of passage to good design! )

But, by and large – when recruiting for internships in the past I could tell the “designers” from people just trying their luck.

These people just trying their luck types contribute to over-subscription to an already busy industry.

Some “just trying their luck types designers” were hoping to get another job of any kind. If the ‘have-go-designer’ had a portfolio at all, it would have been a bonus.

When you put the ‘have go designer’ next to seasoned professional or graduate or someone that takes the profession seriously, you may get quite a contrast in personality, experience confidence, and skill.

This is 1 reason I can think of as to “why are graphic designers so arrogant”, or at least alleged to be.

Not all Graphic Designers are the same, your ” have-go-designer, your IT come/design professional, the print house designer, the consultant, the art director, the junior, the middleweight, the senior, director!

We are many!

List of thoughts, opinions and possible alternative answers as to why are graphic designers so arrogant.

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Group 1 – neighbours cousin dog used Photoshop for a weekend

Anybody can wake up one morning and decide to call themselves a Graphic Designer.

If they can download a trial version of Photoshop or get their hands on a ‘special’ copy, they can decide they are Graphic Designers without proof or qualifications,
Unlike other industries, you do not need to prove you can design. Your life will not depend on it if you go with a rogue designer and your house is unlikely to fall down from a bad selection of typefaces.

Anyone can decide to call themselves a Designer, the bar of entry is low… and this can have an impact on the perception of the industry.

The neighbours cousins dog and your ‘have-a-go-designers” can parade that they can toss together a business card for £5.

There is no policing the ‘have a go designer’.

This in turn can have a negative impact on the designers that have studied and toiled and try to make design better day by day. These designers, the ones that take pride and love in what they do as opposed to your ‘have a go’ designers may be the ones that are sadly getting the bad wrap.

The designer, the casual non-designer designer that is just walking around with the title of the designer can be deemed an imposter by the professionals.

These types of have-a-go-designer may work at the printers, church, school, is a relative and friendly, and have self-depreciation – but you know! They have used photoshop for 2 days! So that makes that person a Designer.

No…

It just means they know a bit about Photoshop., knowing Photoshop doesn’t make them Designer.

There is a difference between somebody just taking orders and doing it in Photoshop to a creative designer looking to come up with solutions.

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Price difference between the pro, graduate and have a go designer

“You are charging how much for a business card?”

– client, from the distant past…

Often, it’s not just a business card, you might need to spend hours drawing the artwork, sending proofs back and forward, and perhaps, on certain occasions – actually creating a brand at the same time. And in this instance, it was a lot more than just throwing a card together.

That £5 may reflect much more than you think.

  • £5 is less than minimum wage in the UK, if somebody is offering a card design service how can they afford to create it and live? Is This a hobbyist? Template service etc, etc.
  • If their rate is so cheap are they inexperienced?
  • For £5 is this just a bolt-on service to their main work? Eg design isn’t really their thing. They just added it on to make an extra £5.

There is difference in what you (a client) may expect from a Designer.

– One being – “just chuck it together”
– The other being : ” help me out, I want my business to grow!”

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I’m going to use the £5 designer as a scale and measuring stick. Or we can call the them the “£5-have-a-go” again if you prefer.

When you go with the said £5 designer, there is a chance that you are using a less experienced level of Graphic Designer too. Experienced designers tend to have had more practice in what they are doing and…

As they have got older ask for more – not less.

A 40 year designer with years of commercial experience and industry knowledge isn’t arrogant for asking for fair wage based upon their service and value to your business.

The chances are, the £5 designer may have aspirations to become that 40-year-old designer one day too. And then ask for a higher rate.

But what I am really trying to get to the bottom of here is this.

There is a VERY big difference between a designer of 2 minutes and the one 1000’s hours.

And I do not feel that an experienced designer with years of commercial experience should be deemed as arrogant.

If a marketing professional, a solicitor, or a nurse had plenty of experience and climbed up the career ladder would you judge them for asking for a fair wage that reflects their skills?

The big question to ask as to why you think Graphic Designers are so arrogant could be more that you may not see the value on their skill or perhaps … you don’t actually want the design work. OR maybe they are arrogant have much higher skills compared to thier actual skill…

You may be just going through the motions and hate all this design stuff and what it represents?

I have written below a list of other potential reasons why designers may be perceived as arrogant, based on opinion and experience, and paraphrased ‘things’ I have heard colleagues and clients say.

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1 ) Why are graphic designers so arrogant… snobbery

Graphic Designers may be seen as arrogant due to what some may as regard as snobbish tastes. We scoff at Comic Sans, come out in blisters at the site of the laminating machine and make scoffing remarks on bad menu design when the majority of the world couldn’t care less.

Mr not comic Sans
comic sans monster!

But as Graphic Designers, we have been trained for what we do – or at least many of us have. We are charging for service that needs to go a bit beyond the norm. Comic sans, having its place on the rare occasion wouldn’t belong on a funeral parlour or an insurance brokers website.

The visual language needs to be correct for the subject matter. And when we wade in and say ‘no’ because comic sans does not reflect the brand of marketing message of the topic.

You may be baffled as to why. It’s not just about making things pretty and feeling that your personal tastes have been insulted.

Commercial design for business should never just be about your personal tastes… be it the designers or clients. It is about making the visuals work for the task at hand and suiting the target demographic.

Design as a service has a job and a role to fulfill.

Putting things in nice places, patterns, typefaces, branding, just part of it.

Snobby designers!

Stupid… arrogant designers! I’m going to laminate YOU!

why are graphic designers so arrogant - laminated graphic designer
I’m going to laminate YOU!
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2 ) Designers may be seen as ‘trendy’

Graphic design is often about trends, being modern, being cool, and being in-tune with the current market. It’s harder and more tiring than it sounds.

Trends in web and trends in design are 2 very different stances on the word “trend”.

“Trend” is a word that is used a lot, and as designers we need to try our best to stay on board with what that actually is, depending on the context in which it is said.

Not all design is about “trend”s. But it is often important to a brief. This also translates to activities, fashion cultural habits etc, any many designers being cool and new.

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3 ) Perceived as cool (Pretentious designers)

Amazing what you come across when looking through forums and talking to the general public etc.

Well…

This may fit with the view of “why are graphic designers so arrogant.

Whats is the definition of cool, according to the dictionary,

“cool is slang for the acceptance, a badge of approval from your peers, colleagues, and the general public.”

Being cool, or to say something is cool and is the mark of approval.

It is true, depending on the industry that designers want something to be more than just ‘meh’. They want their work to be seen as cool or the best that it can be and get for an all-important cool badge.

I can see why arrogance and cool can go together and can also then see the link to cool – arrogance and – graphic design. Generally young, modern, and cool – trendy.

Now that we have established why design is seen as “cool” (apparently)

Arrogance by definition means this.

having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, etc; conceited; overbearingly proud and arrogant teacher; an arrogant assumption.“

puh…

Maybe some us do put too much importance on the aesthetics of a menu, typeface, advert – maybe it makes us look a bit pretentious too. Or it could be designer that things they are too cool, and their skills aren’t inline with other peoples opinions.

(just so you know, I do not believe I am the best designer since sliced bread, sliced bread is impressive!)

I don’t know…

I have found on a few occasions based on the opinion that is a restaurant is ‘too showy’, it’s possibly not as tasty as some of the places that are a bit less stylish. If I go to a restaurant myself, I can forgive a bad typeface. I’m not paying for a good menu to look at. I want to eat what is on the menu.

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4 ) You actually wish you could do the Graphic Design

I have actually come across this on a few occasions.

If the client has a creative eye combined with thinking they are stylish, I have found that his can be a subtle of not so subtle catalyst for them believing that they can do your job!

I know, it is a right of passage! Bought nice shoes – can do Graphic Design obviously.

If you think that design is easy or at least drawing on a computer is easy then you’d be mistaken. Doing is one thing (kudos for trying) and doing it well is another. And sometimes, I happy to admit that even designers might fall short on challenging brief.

Business owner! Or secret wannabe designer. The true annoyance can come when you are not really looking for designer…

As a client you are looking for someone to do your artwork for you. – You don’t want a thinker, you want a hand.

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5 ) Designers can act like they know more about your business than you do

This is a bit of a poke at myself and the industry although I’m happy to take a step back and admit that I don’t know anything about property, law or many other industries.

I will assume it to be a case of the client knowing what sells.

In response to why are graphic designers may be deemed arrogant, I can’t help but wonder if you, as the designer feel, as if you know about the target demographic than your client does?

Steering your client towards making the best design decisions that are in their business interest is one thing. ‘Pretending’ that you know more about their business and their audience is another.

Fellow designers, if you are reading this. You probably do not know more about your client’s business than the client and if you do it is not your place to correct them. You may think you are right, you may think you are helping them, but the chances are this will backfire – and you should also value the opinion of your client here.

Even if it cramps your style!

Your duty is to offer Graphic Design as a service for the client unless they ask for business advice too.

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6 ) Design Hipsters

A playful bit of fun. Chances are, people call me a bit of hipster when I’m not in the room. Or at least I have not heard them!

But down to the Design Hipster thing.

Those pesky design hipsters, they are everywhere.

Especially in East London, riding a penny-farthing without wearing socks – growing copious amounts of heavily groomed facial hair, eating in cereal cafes etc etc.

The hipster style (sorry way of life!) , is a trend. Remember how I mentioned trendy earlier?

There is perhaps a subtle youthful arrogance to hipsters. Trendy, unique, cool… creative etc. I’m cooler than next person and more creative because I have a beard etc.

The irony of the ‘unique’ hipster, is that there many hipsters… making them much less unique from one another. ( did you know you can do hipster quizzes?)

There are a lot of design industries in East London, and there a lot of hipsters in east London. Especially compared to the rest of the country. So it is no surprise to have designers that are hipsters. Design Hipsters.

Design hipsters may very well ‘deem themselves’ the lords and ladies of cool and all things trendy. They will never say it, they’ll just exude it.

We are young, cool and hip, wear lumberjack shirts, tattoos, beards, glasses with no lenses, we go to gimmicky places to eat, etc etc.

For you are a comic sans heathen! Hipsters are cool and there is a large chunk of the design industry that I may regard as cool and quite hipster.

But now… with design hipsters do you think that they are arrogant and cool because they are young and full of new ideas and you are the lords or beige and don’t like avocados?

Maybe! ( yeah… you’re jealous! ;-D )

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7 ) Do people think Graphic Design is a “fluff” job!?

Over the years I have had various things said to me and behaviours that allude to some individuals that just don’t take design seriously for business. And you know, people are welcome to own their own opinions and I have come to accept it.

I will say my bit, but I will not try to burn myself out proving that design is both applicable and useful in business for many situations. I can think this, and say this with quiet confidence.

Clients will believe what they will believe. I have better things to do than converting their opinions.

But, still for those that think we are a waste of time. There is no changing some of their closed views. They will think of us arrogant for having some self-belief in our profession. They will most likely hold this view before they have even met us.

Some businesspeople outside of design believe what we do, to be unimportant – we just make things pretty. And if you are a designer, you and I both know that more often than not many fields such as website design, UI, product design, creative direction, etc.

There is much more to it.

Yes, the look of something is important with Graphic Design. But it isn’t the only part.

Just to quickly brainstorm a few key points with my profession:

Sell a product, make it look appealing to the target buyer user, branding, the user experience, is it easy to use, is it easy to read, does it make people feel a certain way, is it exciting, does it make you pick things up and want to buy it, does it illustrate, can it inform, does the design tie in with the bigger picture?

And then, how stylish is it.

Those are just a handful of thoughts and processes I use for projects. I do see the value in design for business and how it can actually help to make money, Not just from a design standpoint but from an entrepreneurial standpoint too.

Now, not every designer is the same, and perhaps some have inflated ego’s, and this how this question has come to be – why are graphics designers so arrogant.

But for some, you will never change the view and behaviour. Be it the ego of a designer or the contempt and ignorance of a client who lacks all respect for design. Just keep moving forward.

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Why graphic design is important for business

why are graphic designers so arrogant - importance of design

Graphic Design can help sell a product service or be an integral part of a product itself.

I have written a post here covering STEM product design for example – a direct tie in with the value of Design and business.

Graphic Design is by no means, the be-all and end-all to a business or a product’s success. And I am more than happy to stand by this both being involved in the creative design process and as part of product development for retail.

Sorry all, but Graphic Design alone is not the golden egg for business success and neither is many of roles as a singular.

The success often comes from multiple channels and talents and elbow grease from many parties, with the Graphic Design being one, not the only.

Design is important for many businesses as it provides a vessel for selling service, pushing a brand, and showing the user what the product is all about.

Design is important… but not the only important thing for business.

*One thing I would like to mention, and though Graphic Design is important for many businesses, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

  • Don’t use design negatively.
  • Don’t use design to sell a half-baked or weak product idea.

If you are using design be it for a website, social media, or print, make sure you have a real product that, if you were to take all of the gloss and excitement away from it (eg packaging) it would still be a great product in years to come.

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Why are graphic designers so arrogant | final answer to a perhaps daft question

To answer why are graphic designers so arrogant in one attempt is difficult, as this predominantly a question based around somebody’s opinion and each situation is unique.

Initially, I would have put this question in the camp of coming from angry clients who were letting off some steam by doing a search in Google, but then I started to wonder whether this is an industry-wide opinion – judging by the fact it came up in auto-suggest – maybe!

why are graphic designers so arrogant - auto search

Think that most of this opinion comes from differing points of view and general misunderstanding. A client may have some undeclared expectations of what and how they want a designer to behave and the Designer, depending on the level they are, maybe miss-aligned with their clients’ or employers’ expectations.

An eager Graphic Designer may also be caught between the narrow gap of offering a service and offering their experience at the same time –

“Consult me… but do as you are told.”

in other words rock and a hard place. There isn’t an easy way through this apart from early communications and trying to gauge how your clients and co-workers all gel as a team.

In addition to all that has been said – to sadly reinforce an unwelcome and inconvenient stereotype, I have come across this thread that lists some design arrogance, predominately between UX and Graphic Designers or Reddit.

Which if you would like to see other opinions feel free to do so.

The following statements could also be potential factors for designers being perceived as having an ego.

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– Many designers strive for perfect design, sometimes to the detriment of a deadline. Occasionally, ‘boshing’ it together is all that is needed for the brief when it is of lower value to the business objective. This may come off a strange stubbornness where ‘design’ takes total precedence and important above all else – thus the arrogance badge.

– Designers will more often than not try to treat their profession as an art. When more often than not it should be seen as they are offering a service to your / the business above all else. In other words, we can become very emotionally involved a good project.

They can’t let it go. A proud and stubborn designer just can’t let a cool idea go and who could blame them! Designers should strive to make the next best thing for design! But this in turn can lead to a difference of opinion and project wrestling match.

Some businesses/professions / individuals and fellow colleagues don’t ‘really’ believe in the value of design. They see you as the creator of fluff and as a low-skilled pretender. And when that lack of respect for you and the profession becomes evident, this can lead to a wrestling match again. Graphic Designers will probably defend their role and profession, perhaps in passive-aggressive ways – pomp, superiority, when a client makes them (us) feel of low worth. – insecure.

– Cool kids with glasses. As much as I find it a bit shallow, as a professional designer, I try to keep my fingers on the pulse with the latest looks in retail and business. In school, you’d been called a “trendy’ and this can also add to that images of being smug and egotistical.

– Push their design evangelism. If the designer is so passionate – so obsessed with the value of design, have read too much Steve jobs, they may be uncompromising in their vision and too new from college. They may be yet to learn when to compromise in areas of their design for the good of the business.

It a nutshell, there isn’t one easy and single answer to ‘arrogance’ in the field. As designers are people and people are different from each other. You will always come across pomp and superiority whether it is the business owner vs designer, designer vs developer and so on.

A question to consider is ‘why there isn’t more unity in trying to meet a common goal in business?’ Most of the reasons listed above cover this but wouldn’t it be ideal if we’re all truly on the same page.

There could be 100’s of other smaller reasons as to why you believe Graphic Designers are so arrogant or if you have been called an arrogant designer. It could be just a case of attitude, ignorance or even inexperience!

“why graphic designers are so arrogant”

What do I feel about my Designers!?

Think us designers are alright if I don’t say so myself!

I only consider our arrogance and man-buns from time to time. In-between projects and perhaps brewing a tea! I’ve personally not come across too much of it with regards to arrogance. The only thing I might say is ‘Sales’ have regarded design as support (joking, I think) when the design was an integral part of the whole process. Otherwise, they would have been selling much less interesting products.

Us cool designers, flexing our design muscles, power curling avocados 😀

Thank you for reading! I hope this post has answered a few thoughts and queries with both humour and sincere attempt at answering a tricky question.

External links | Design attitudes and tutorials

Thank you for reading – “why graphic designers are so arrogant”… honestly?