6 Stereotypical Horror Movie Characters You May Encounter in Your Real-Life Graphic Design Career
By Will Erstad on 10/18/2016
October is prime time for horror movie watching. If you’ve watched enough of these campy delights, you’ve likely noticed a trend. The characters in these movies tend to behave in predictable ways that more often than not leads to their demise or the demise of others.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Great observation, but what does this have to do with a graphic design career?”
The truth? Honestly, not that much. These movies are generally about blade-wielding bad guys and haunted happenings – both things you probably won’t encounter as a graphic designer.
That said, when you look at it in the right way, there are lessons to be learned from the foes and fodder of these slasher flicks. So in the spirit of Halloween, we’ve identified a handful of the horror movie characters you may come across in your time as a real-life graphic designer and what you can learn from their behavior.
6 horror movie characters you might find
1. The person who has to open that door
It may seem blindingly obvious that investigating a strange noise from beyond the door of a creepy mansion might be a bad idea. But this horror movie staple is dead set on checking it out anyway. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t end well for them.
How they might appear in your career: This is the designer whose curiosity and idealism ends up backfiring in the long run. They’ll have a big, bold idea for times when playing it relatively safe is the smart move. Sure, these ideas might end up working out on a rare occasion — but there’s a pretty good chance they’ll fail in spectacular fashion.
Lesson learned? Take calculated risks.
2. The mysterious old man
Horror movies love this guy! Despite his old age and living near a serial killer, he’s made it through life relatively unscathed. He may pop in from time to time to give ominous warnings. But only a few will understand his message while the rest dismiss him at their own peril.
How they might appear in your career: This is the graphic designer with years of experience who has seemingly seen it all. He or she can tell when a project is headed for disaster, but many will dismiss the warnings as the ramblings of a crazy old designer.
Lesson learned? Take the time to listen to experienced designers — they know what they’re talking about!
3. The silent killer
Large. Silent. Murderous. Slasher movies seem to have a type when it comes to their antagonists. The motivations of the horror movie writers of the world are never quite apparent to those in the midst of their killing sprees, but that doesn’t stop them from attacking away.
How they might appear in your career: If you work with enough clients, you’ll eventually run into a “silent killer”. While they may not be literally come at you with a machete, they’ll remain ominously quiet when it comes to feedback throughout the design process. But just when you think your design will be safely approved, they spring out of nowhere at the last minute to rip it apart until it becomes something unrecognizable.
Lesson learned? Be wary of the silent ones. Better yet, try to do your best to understand their motivations. It might just save the life of your project.
4. The Freddy Krueger
The Nightmare on Elm Street series’ antagonist has made a strong habit of ruining the nights of many an unwitting teenager, terrorizing their dreams and ultimately leading them to a grisly fate.
How they might appear in your career: Have you ever had a nightmare where work revisions and issues kept piling up at a pace that is impossible to handle? Or where you’re presenting a storyboard to a client and realize you forgot to put on pants? That’s the Mr. Krueger of a graphic design career. Freddy, like his design counterpart, is less a person and more a terrible spectre that can attack unexpectedly.
Lesson learned? Never sleep! (There’s probably a deadline coming up soon, anyway.)
5. The sheriff
This character has plenty of authority — at least in title— but never seems to be around when you need them the most. They’re typically not actively trying to defeat other characters, but their absence seems particularly glaring when things take a turn for the worse.
How they might appear in your career: If you spend time working for an agency or an in-house design department, there’s a decent chance you’ll come across a “Sheriff” somewhere in the organization. While the majority of higher-ups aren’t going to be bumbling or unhelpful, you may find a few that are surprisingly unhelpful when things get complicated.
Lesson learned? Your superior won’t always have the design expertise that you do, so be confident making decisions on your own.
6. The foolishly determined individual
It’s a massacre out there, but this hotshot isn’t fazed. They’ve got a risky survival plan and they’re not interested in waiting for the group to come to a consensus. Their determination and take-charge attitude might seem impressive at first, but in most cases forging the path alone ends up being a fatal mistake.
How they might appear in your career: The foolishly determined individual can appear in many situations throughout your design career. They are particularly common when working on projects where collaboration is key. Their enthusiasm to get things done and charge forward isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just needs to be reined in a bit before they waste hours working on a concept that isn’t feasible.
Lesson learned? Make sure every stakeholder involved in a collaborative project is on the same page.
The final cut
Thankfully, the situations you’ll come across in your graphic design career are much less dire than what you’d find in a horror movie. No one is losing their head (at least not literally) when the folks mentioned above are up to their usual antics.
That said, whether you’re the hero of a horror movie or the conqueror of your career, it definitely helps to know what awaits you on the road ahead. Learn more about what to expect in our article: What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Graphic Designer. And stay safe out there!