13 Steps to Being the Worst Web Designer on the Planet

That’s new … since there’s so much stuff on how to do this well, and that exceptionally well, I’ve decided to go the other way, and tell you how to be the worst (freelance) web designer on the planet.

But why? Just because! That’s why. BUT… being truly bad is not that easy, though. Thankfully, there are things you can do that can get you all set up for failure. Here goes.

(Note: Just to be clear, as I value my freedom, this is pure entertainment. If you put any of these to practice you will crash and burn, get sued, or most likely go to jail — Love, Karol)

1. 50% Advance Payment, then Procrastinate.

This is the first trick in a doomed to fail web designer’s guidebook. Of course, you don’t actually admit that you’re not actually doing any work. You cover this up by making things up i.e. lie.

How? It’s easy: just say that you’re doing some activities that won’t produce any tangible results. Like, “I’m working on the main idea for the logo” or “I’m analyzing the field” OR “I’m preparing all the initial requirements.” You know, stuff like that.

But of course, you actually do none of these things. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to craft something great during the final week. So the client will love you anyway. You’ll maybe even get a bonus for your dedicated work.

You know what… as a matter of fact…

2. Forget about Deadlines Altogether.

Clients don’t care about deadlines. Remember, as long as you give them something nice and shiny it doesn’t have to be delivered on time.

Chances are that your client doesn’t have any campaign, or promotion set up in advance. No media coverage, no interviews, no partners ready to spread the word about their new project, no anything. People don’t know such things. So it’s cool.

3. Get Only Pirated Software.

Software is expensive, especially for a web designer. Developers, they have it cheap. WordPress — free. An environment to edit some PHP code — free. Simple local server to test the site they’re developing — free.

The Pirate Bay (Image source: Airborne Gamer)

Web designers, on the other hand, oh let me count the ways… Photoshop, Illustrator, 3ds Max, Corel, stock pictures, good LCD screen to see all the colors properly, etc. This is all expensive stuff. Thankfully, there’s thepiratebay.

Use the site to download everything you need for free. No one will ever know anyway. Besides, if you were to pay for the software the money would end up in the pockets of some evil corporate managers. In essence, you’re doing everyone a favor by downloading software illegally.

4. Chuck Modern Trends Out the Window.

Come on, you don’t need to be up to date with modern trends because you are the one setting the trends. You are the Paris Hilton of web design. You don’t need to know what others are doing, it’s irrelevant. They need to learn from you, not the other way around.

5. Let them Adapt to you.

This is not your problem. You’re just an *awesome* designer. If a platform like WordPress can’t handle your mega flashy great design then it’s the platform’s fault, not yours.

Your client is certainly going to understand this fact and invest in a custom-made platform that will be able to handle your superb creation.

6. Don’t Set Goals for your Projects.

A goal is some strange thing everyone’s worshipping far too much. Why do websites even need goals? They are just websites — pieces of great design that should be kept in a gallery for people to rave about.

There’s no other goal for a website than to look good. Websites set up to make money? Meh, you’re an artist, not an evil marketer.

A beautiful design is what every client wants. They simply want to show the site to their spouse and say “look, honey, isn’t she a beauty? I paid $10,000 for this, it was surely worth it!

Which brings me to…

7. Overcharging.

Here’s how you put a price tag on your project.

First, you set your hourly rate. Try to be honest and think of a rate that sounds reasonable in your field… Done? … OK, now take this rate and multiply it by 2.

Now, look at the project you have to do, and try to estimate the time it will take if you were to do some actual honest work… Done? … OK, now take it and multiply it by 2 as well.

Since now you have your two numbers, multiply one by the other and you have a nice price tag. The final step is to take this price tag and multiply it by 1.5, we can call this — a “safety ratio”. And there you have it, your “Jessie J”.

8. Don’t Sign a Contract.

You don’t need those. Contracts hold you accountable. You know, people can sue you if you fail to deliver.


“But isn’t this risky? The client might not pay me at all even if I don’t fail!” I hear you say.

Nah, don’t worry. Look, just a minute ago you’ve crafted your price tag to be at least 6 times the amount that can be considered honest. Additionally, you’re asking for 50% of the money upfront. In the worst case scenario, you still end up with half of what should be getting.

Of course, if something goes wrong you don’t have to give it back because *ba dum tsss* there’s no contract.

9. Always Laugh Off Your Client’s Previous Site.

Remember, you are the expert, you know best. There’s no better way to show for it than by laughing at other people’s work.

Just point randomly at some elements of the previous design and say some completely irrelevant things about how you could have easily made them better. For example: “this logo is completely not visible, I would make it much bigger” or “this color sucks, I would use something that focuses more attention on the site’s content,” and so on.

Also, use a lot of smart expressions when talking about the site. Like: “social media exposure,” or “usable and error-free HTML structure.” It helps. True story.

10. Use Comic Sans.

I know that those hipster-designers hate Comic Sans, but this is exactly why you — a superior creature — should love it.

Comic Sans (Image source: Comic Sans Project)

Comic Sans is mainstream. Clients love the mainstream. Besides, the font is friendly, playful, and has a heartwarming vibe to it. It makes people say “oooohh” like they just saw a kitten.

11. Do the Actual Work.

Yea, whatever. Doesn’t matter.

12. Don’t Listen to Feedback.

Listening to feedback, and more dangerously(!), changing something according to this feedback is a sign of weakness.

Every web designer’s essential skill is the ability to protect their work. You need to present a firm position and explain why your design is the best design any human being could create. Speak fast with massive self-confidence.

If someone points out anything they don’t like about your creation respond violently and tell them why they’re wrong.

Something along the lines of: “that’s why you’re paying me to design this, not the other way around” tends to work just fine.

13. Don’t Provide Support.

If there’s a problem with your design (and you’ve already received 100% of the money) don’t even bother answering phone calls, emails, or any other form of communication thereafter.

If your previous client requests some work to be done for free because it wasn’t done properly in the first place then you act as if you were dead, no longer designing, or use any other excuse that will save you from doing any work at all.

If your client asks for some further paid work, on the other hand, you are there waiting and gladly, willing to help. Of course, now you can charge 8 times the honest amount because the client won’t go to someone else anyway.

Freelance web design truly is a great business to be in.

— Switching back to reality —

Have you ever met such a designer? Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about this “reverse” web design tutorial. :)

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