I'm a graphic designer. Therefore:
I am socially awkward. I prefer keeping to myself in dark corners of overpriced coffee shops, and if you approach me, I'll probably roll my eyes and wave you away (because clearly you aren't hipster enough for me). Do not call me on the phone. If you do try to reach me by calling me, and I do by some miracle answer, I'll most likely act bored, uninterested, and like you're bothering me (because you are). So in trying the alternative, emailing or texting, know that I'll respond whenever is convenient for me—most likely some time after midnight when I'm just hitting my creative stride.
If you ever introduce me to anyone else at your company, I probably won't say anything above and beyond a "hey." If I do, it's probably because I've identified one of your employees as being just as annoyed by you as I am and we can relate. (Don't take that personally. I'm pretty much annoyed by everyone and everything that doesn't relate directly to ingenious design.)
You've decided to work with me. Great. No, that's not sarcastic, I actually am thrilled. But know that I won't show it. In fact, I won't really show any sort of emotion unless it has to do with my design work. From here on out, it's my brilliance that is going to drive the success of your business. What? You don't like my design? Well then, you don't know what you're talking about. I'm the designer, the creative, the all-knowing. In a perfect world, I would drive all things creative and the world would be perfectly beautiful constantly. Maybe not functional, but beautiful. And what it looks like is all that really matters (just like my designs).
Oh, I'm sorry, did you need something? Here I was rambling on and on about how the world should work when YOU were asking me something. OH, I missed a deadline? Yeah, that's because I was busy being a genius. You can't rush creative brilliance. And no, I don't know when I'll be done with your design. Actually, I don't want to work with you anymore, because you keep trying to change my design. Lata'. I'm going back to my dark corner in the overpriced coffee shop.
DESIGNERS, LET'S CRUSH THIS STEREOTYPE
I may have exaggerated just a bit, but in all truthfulness, graphic designers (and artists in general) have a major stereotype about them. And it isn't necessarily far from the truth. We're unpredictably remarkable, we love our designs to the point of completely missing the message, and we're always, always late. (Why do deadlines even exist for us?)
Designers, we don't have to be this way. We can be sharp professionals that care more about our client's intentions than our own creative pursuits. We can always hit our deadlines and be darn good communicators in the process. We can be sociable, friendly, and engaging. We can respond to emails and phone calls in a timely matter, be organized, and be attentive to the job at hand. We can be all of these things AND be exceptionally creative.
So I challenge you—step out of the terrible mold we've been put into. Prefer listening over speaking and giving over taking. Show your excitement for a project and your passion for the business partner you've just made. Make your designs vulnerable to the impressions and opinions of those who are wanting their message communicated. Acknowledge when your design just isn't hitting the mark, and learn to communicate yourself clearly so that when the design is hitting the mark, you can sell it and make your client compelled by it.
Designers, we are particular and a bit peculiar, but that shouldn't make us any less professional.
What are you doing to crush this stereotype?