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While watching the FIFA World Cup do-or-die match between USA and Algeria, a strange thought clicked my mind….that we graphic designers are like footballers. Although not similar in every aspect, but there are few prominent resemblances between the two professions. While football (soccer) is a game of creative skills and exceptional ability to produce winning goals, graphic designing is a field of creativity and talent to create winning designs.

Although personality types of graphic designers vary from one another, there are some commonalities that they share with footballers. In other words, there are lots of lessons that graphic designers can learn from the game of football as well. The various positions and strategies that football players follow bear a resemblance to what designers perform in their professional careers.  Read the strange and funny ways in which graphic designers resemble footballers:


1. Creative Skills – Desire to exhibit the talent:

The first thing that is common between a graphic designer and a footballer is the existence of creative skills. Just like talented football players who just need a chance to show their flair on the pitch, graphic designers have the thirst to prove their ability in the marketplace. Every footballer has a special talent that makes him different from others. Cristiano Ronaldo’s dribbling skills makes him an exceptional player. Zinedine Zidane’s ingenious playmaking abilities made him a dexterous mid-field player. Likewise, every graphic designer has a unique style and talent that they desire displaying in front of the world.

2. Striker - The Attacking Role:

Picture a hungry lion keenly waiting to attack his target. This is the exact job of a striker in football. The player in an attacking role waits eagerly to pounce on the first opening provided to him to strike. Similar is the life of graphic designers. They are ready to seize every opportunity they get to make an impact for themselves. Moreover they can play aggressively when and where required and can assert their authority over the proceedings quite successfully.

3. Defender – The Defensive Role

Coming way back to the other end of the soccer field, there is a burly and resolute defender that protects his goal. The task of the defender in football is to ward off any attack from the opponent team. Now, you must be thinking where do graphic designers play as defenders? The role of designer as a defender is most vital as they frequently have to tackle difficult clients. Like a dogfighter, they ward off any client refutes and rebuttals they come across. They defend every tirade that their clients throw at them. They resolutely defend their work in front of their clients and convince them.

4. Playmaking – The mid-field Role:

The most important part of the football mechanics is the mid-field. The play-makers are the ones who build up and create chances for their team mates to score. Similarly, an extensive design process is the playmaking part of designing. At the start of the project, designers are like playmakers that meticulously build their design process in order to end up with a stunning design. Just like a mid-fielder, the graphic designer uses his design process to harmonize the flow of the project at hand. Without the playmaking skills, graphic designers cannot achieve the optimum results.

5. Fair play - Abide by the rules:

Although there are cheats and frauds in every game, there are rules to counter them as well. In the game of football, diving, acting and time wasting are a few dishonest techniques used in football. But there are corresponding penalties awarded for these unfair practices. For example, you get a yellow card for faking a dive in football and a red for misconduct. Graphic designing profession is parallel to this system. There are certain rules and regulations that must be followed in designing any assignment, not abiding which may lead to hefty penalties. Obviously there are no yellow or red cards awarded to graphic designers, but there certainly are monetary penalties for violating the codes of business conduct. Copying, plagiarizing and design infringing are a few unfair practices in the field of graphic design.

Golden Goal – It’s all about Winning:

In the end, the best trait that we can learn from footballers is to give our best shot and carry on firmly till the final stage. Recall the last gasp goal by USA to clinch victory…it shows the need to constantly strive and not give up till the end. Graphic designers should never lose hope in their endeavors and strive with utmost determination to find the GOLDEN GOAL.

  1. creative designer On June 25th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    wow i never really thought of this before :-D you’re really spot on about the similarities between footballers and graphic designers. brilliant comparison especially the playmaking part…its really essential for designers to have a design process so that they can systematically work.

  1. Paula Barber On June 25th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    oh yeah it sure was a nail biting finish to that USA/Algeria match, i was glued to the set till the end and they finally won :)
    funy observation this you got with footballers and graphic designers, made me laugh but also thought its quite true. I never really thought graphic designers needed to play striker…do most of the graphic designers follow the rules? many footballers dont as well…another similarity i guess?

  1. Emma Wilson On June 25th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    imagine getting a red card in graphic design…it’l be like gettin an F in skool :-D
    very funny topic, enjoyed reading it and was literally laughing at myself picturing as a striker ;)

  1. anacrismerino's blog On June 26th, 2010 at 9:26 am

    [...] in every aspect, but there are few prominent resemblances between the two professions.Source: Jun [...]

  1. Ashely Adams : Sticker Printing On June 28th, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Hey I am a designer myself at and had never really thought of such a similarity. This is indeed a very innovative association especially in this soccer season.

  1. PsdDude On June 30th, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Innovative yes , very interesting article and contains these two cool keywords “graphic design” and “football” . 10 for the idea!

  1. Website Design On July 1st, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Well this is defiantly a different angle I never thought of my self in :) I particularly agree with the mid-field role :

    “Just like a mid-fielder, the graphic designer uses his design process to harmonize the flow of the project at hand. Without the playmaking skills, graphic designers cannot achieve the optimum results.”

    Great stuff thanks

  1. Derek On July 3rd, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Very cool….I also like to think of the Jabulani soccer ball as the tool in the soccer masters feet.
    As designers our computers (my Mac which I love) are the tool that are in us master designers hands!

    You gotta be here at the World Cup…the vibe is alive and electric!!…LOVE IT HERE!!

  1. Victoria Blount On July 5th, 2010 at 4:16 am

    A very interesting article on the similarities between footballers and designers, which is a topical subject. I think the variety of roles a designer has to play can be likened to a few other comparisons.

  1. Red Champions On July 9th, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Never thought of it this way but the article fits the world cup atmosphere, that’s for sure :) Thanks for sharing.

  1. Agon On July 10th, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Hi, very nice post…and great similarity…lol, i do both of these, designing and playing football….the two things that i dreamed for…and there is a lot of similarity….i want to mention the dribbling too….lol…the dribbling is how to get over ur opponent with great skills :)….it’s same in designing….you must to know how to use ur advantages..for my opinion there is a lot of ways to achive that….if first drrible doesn’t work try the other one…try the third one..and keep trying until u get there on the top….

  1. SJL Website Design On July 12th, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Great article!! I would of never thought of comparing designers with footballers, and as I am a designer and I like football this was a really good interesting read!!


  1. MNS On July 14th, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Haha very true :)

  1. Adam Sturm On August 3rd, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Love the comparison! I’m always looking to find new ways to explain the graphic design field to others.

  1. Graphic Designers = footballers « design6933 On November 16th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

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