My wife and I go out to eat quite a bunch. Usually she doesn’t even notice when I comment on the design of the menu, the logo of the restaurant, or how they really should have chosen a different font for the drink specials that sit on each table. But one night we were out and I said something that got her attention,“You know, being a chef and being a designer really are pretty similar.”

That one made her stop and look at me like I was crazy. Not that this is the first time she’s done that, but it was enough of a look that I felt like I needed to justify myself.

1. Neither Come in Contact with the Customer/Client Very Often

A Chefs OfficeI know someone out there is going to argue that freelance designers talk to the client directly all the time. Well, yes, but I’m talking about a designer working for a company with project managers.

Here at MayeCreate, we, the design team, really don’t interact with the client very much, short of answering the phone and taking a message for the appropriate account service person.

Most of the client interaction is through the project manager, that’s their job. Same thing for a chef. Think about it; how many times have you personally talked to a chef at a restaurant? My bet would be once, maybe twice, but more than likely… never. That’s not a bad thing, you almost always talk to the server right? That’s fine, it’s their job. I guess that means project managers are sort of like servers! But that’s another blog post.

2. Both Need to be Skilled at Their Trade to be Successful

You don’t want food prepared by a bad chef and you don’t want design work done by a bad designer. Simple as that. With bad design, just as with bad food, in the end you would just end up with a bad taste in your mouth either literally or metaphorically. So, in order to be a successful designer or chef, it’s drastically important to be good at what you do.

3. Both Need to be Very Good at Managing Their Time Efficiently

Egg TimerAs a chef you have to be good at managing your time. You have to be able to cook a steak perfectly, while preparing a burger, while making sure that sauce you started isn’t cooking for too long and you have to be able to do it all in a reasonable time frame. If you can’t, then you’re either making one single thing at a time or everything is cooked wrong all at once. Either way you have an angry customer on your hands at the end.

As a designer, there usually isn’t as much multitasking as there is switching between multiple things in quick succession. You have to be able to switch from coding a website straight into sketching and designing a beautiful logo or designing a business card. And you have to be able to do all of it in a timely manner. If you can’t, then you are either working on something way too long or everything looks like the same design or it all looks terrible. And again, either way you have an angry customer on your hands.

Those time frames are very different for a chef and a designer, obviously. It’s a few minutes for a chef and a few hours (or more) for a designer, but it still, time management is important.

4. When Done Right, Both Professions Make People Very Happy

I don’t know about you, but two of the things that make me smile are really good design and really good food. While neither designers or chefs get very much praise directly from the client/customer we all take great pride in the fact that we are making someone’s company, non-profit organization, or lunch just the little bit better because we put our creative heart into it. And honestly, that’s the best part of the job.

The Cake’s Almost Done

I’m really hungry now. Go out there and thank your chef for the awesome sandwich you got at lunch, or maybe send your designer a cookie or something. I like cookies.

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