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Finally, Christmas holidays are over…and so are all my holiday-time client projects. Even though the holiday season is the most awaited time of the year but for me and surely other graphic designers , it’s merely hassle. I mean what’s the point of having holidays when you have to toil and sweat in these days too? Holidays are meant to provide joy, happiness and togetherness with your loved ones. But how can one enjoy this time with his friends and family when he has heaps of work piled up?

It’s the same thing every year. Days before holidays, you have clients flooding in like never before. I don’t intend to sound ungrateful here, but I would rather spend quality time with my family over the holidays then earn extra bucks. Money is something that can be earned anytime of the year, but the joy and pleasure of spending holidays with loved ones is priceless. To further elaborate my point, have a look at this interesting video created by Viewpoint Creative:


I don’t want to sound like a party pooper, but here are some genuine reasons why I hate the holidays as a graphic designer.


1. Extreme Work Pressure:

Christmas Brochures, Holidays Greeting Cards, New Year Calendars, you name it. It is the time when clients go frantic getting marketing materials designed and printed for their business. I realize that this overflow of work is a positive thing but at the same time one should avoid being a workaholic, especially in holidays.

2. Unrealistic Deadlines:

Meeting stringent deadlines is always a big task for graphic designers, but it becomes more impossible around holidays. This is because, clients are also strapped for time and require their design work created and printed well before the holiday seasons for promotion. For instance, a client approaches you a day before Christmas and asks for a New Year calendar design. Now it’s obvious that your deadline will be at least 2-3 days before New Year’s Eve thereby giving you an almost impossible deadline of one day to complete the whole graphic design project.

3. No Time for Family:

Normally, a few days off from work should mean spending time with your family and friends. But in a graphic designer’s case, it’s the same routine working on tons of projects. You may be physically present at home, but your mind is fixated on meeting your deadlines. You are so engrossed in work that you totally ignore your family and friends on the special days of the year.

4. Clients Demand Perfection:

Another thing that I don’t like about holiday projects is that clients get too much demanding. As if there isn’t enough client criticism to face all year, holidays tend to infuse increased restlessness and confusion among clients. Since they are investing on holiday promotions, clients want everything to be perfect. As illustrated in the video above, clients demand so many revisions that you are left stranded to achieve perfection.

  1. Eli C On December 27th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Number 3 would be the worst during the holidays. With no time for family, they’re going to bug you until you give them attention!

  1. Jennifer On December 27th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I have to say that I completely disagree with you - I wrote a post about it as well: - These issues can be resolved with simple process and client management - these aren’t Holiday issues but issues with process and time management. If you say yes to every single project that comes in with a tight deadilne, of course you’re going to have these problems, but if you ‘train’ your clients to give you projects ahead of schedule, then all of these issues go down the drain.

  1. Angie // Portland Web Designer On December 27th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I’m sorry, but this type of rant/post is becoming a disturbing trend by designers.

    Extreme work pressure? If you’re **that** fortunate with all the work, you ought to consider bringing in some help. Or turning the overflow work down (and recommending a fellow designer for it).

    Unrealistic deadlines? Having experienced this early in my career, that’s partly your fault for saying yes in the first place. If the deadline is “almost impossible” then why put yourself through that and create that “extreme work pressure” you mention?

    No time for family? Sounds like you’re not sure how to budget/balance your time properly. Good project and time management will help in you being with your family both physically and mentally.

    Clients demand perfection? Why wouldn’t they? Their brand, image and reputation is on the line, just like yours. And this isn’t exclusive to holiday-related work. Seriously, if you can’t stand the criticism, you’re in the wrong line of work.

    We as an industry have got to learn to appreciate our clients much better than this.

  1. Sally Minsariya On December 28th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I usually face the problem whenever i got holidays in the end of year, and believe me it was such a hectic situation for me when i did not think for a second to what to do or what to do not? At that time i just calm my confusions over hectic schedules between my work which i suppose to think that it will not complete it in a mean deadline. I just want to thanks Graphic Design Blog for they highlighting this summary which i read and feel refreshing and able to calm down my holistic thinking and makes my holidays good and fine.

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On December 29th, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Hey Sally…join the club :( I believe this happens with most of the graphic designers every holiday season that the work load doesn’t spare them much to have fun with family and friends.

  1. Morgan & Me Creative On December 29th, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Festives are the worst periods for anyone in the creative industry. Tight deadlines, greetings etc etc

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On December 29th, 2011 at 1:38 am

    Hey Angie…you getting me wrong here dude :) Its not that I am being thankless about getting client work on Christmas/New Year. Its just that where we await the holiday season all year long but being a graphic designer we are overloaded with work, at the same time. Therefore, it becomes a bit stressful managing so many things at the same time.

    That’s my experience and thoughts. I am sure many would relate with it too but your opinion is respected too :)

  1. Steven Kingsley On December 30th, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Most jobs have pressures around the holiday periods so suck it up and deal with it??

  1. Louise Myers On December 30th, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    You need new clients. I designed a 2012 planner for a client - we started at the end of March and finished by the end of June. I wouldn’t accept a 2012 calendar job on Christmas Eve. Surely you exaggerate?

  1. Paul Eline On January 2nd, 2012 at 7:14 am

    The main thing in Graphic Designing is the Fresh Mind I think. After working so many hours a week or months I think some rest should be compulsory. But your points are also genuine.

  1. Alice On January 4th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I am a graphic designer and photographer, and I HATE the holidays. 60+ work weeks for two months is enough to make anyone crazy!

  1. Robert Graphic On January 6th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    This is so funny, mostly because it’s true. I find it kind of ironic that the holidays sometimes brings out the worst in people. I find this most related to your second point. When they set these unrealistic expectations, some clients get upset and stressed out when they feel like the progress they are expecting isn’t being matched. Regardless of that, it’s still a great field to be in.

  1. harryposter On January 8th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Uh Oh…

    My experience (over 26 years) is rather that you won’t get much work during the “holiday” season…

    Like not much happening between 15 Dec and Feb/March…

    Time to get a break, don’t you think?

    It all depends on your niche though, mine is mainly print-design and some web and digital.

    But over 26 years, I can tell you there is nothing happening in Jan or Feb. Not much in August either.

    Best months are March (recovering from the festive season) and November (preparing for the festive season) for some reason…

    All other months are so-so

    Good luck and Happy New Year anyway!

  1. Jennifer Jones On January 9th, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Well I must say an awesome post!!! Hats off to writer!

  1. Kristen Reynolds On January 11th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    @ Angie in Portland - thanks for your comment. Aside from a few deadline-demanding clients, it really wasn’t too bad this holiday season. I really appreciate the clients that I have. I agree with harryposter on business slowing down during this time. I work out of the Virgin Islands, and most companies have already done their advertising and web revisions by winter (“Tourist Season”).

  1. Gail Browne-McDonald On January 12th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Love the video!! :)) Why…because that is me! Not the designer…the client O_o

  1. Davina On January 24th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I think the same situation applies to a number of professions which are linked to holidays - catering, hotel industry, retailers to name a few.
    No. 2 unrealistic deadlines. The client maybe asking if they can have a calendar in 7 days but you don’t have to agree. You know the request is unrealistic but if you agree, guess what they will continue to make unrealistic demands. Tell them no and the reasons why. Ok you might lose a client but you will also lose stress levels.
    If you are unable to say no, then celebrate Christmas on a different date.

  1. 99designs Reviews On January 30th, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I like the video as it demonstrate how a graphic designer feels when holidays they have to finish loads of work before going for holidays. This time period becomes really stressful and depressing for them but if they plan their work accordingly and finish their projects on time, then they will surely have quality time to spend with family.

  1. David On January 30th, 2012 at 6:22 am

    The other lame thing about holidays is that it means you work really really hard, and not always for much extra money, and then you have weeks where there could be no work at all! It’s like you kill yourself working, then die of starvation!

  1. New Web Templates On January 31st, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Yes! I agree with these points, designers do need some extra time for relaxation!!

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