Designed by Apple in California

Fighting impostor syndrome guide for junior designers

Michal Malewicz


Apple bad contrast design example

Take a look at the above image. This is a native Message removal dialog in Mac OS Sonoma 14.2.1 (the latest update). And obviously there is a big issue with this — namely the second button from the top.

This particular combination of dark mode and a negative action button is just jarring. Let’s see what the contrast ratio has to say about this.

contrast ratio for apple button dark mode
18p = 18pt font size

As you can see this fails all the major WCAG categories, and even with the coming updates to the evaluation models it will still fail.

Before we continue I need to say something. It needs to be said right here and right now, before we look further into this and propose some solutions.

I like Apple products

I’ve been an Apple user for the last 15 years. I own a MacBook Pro (M1Pro), Apple Watch, two iPhones (15Pro and 12mini), two iPads (Pro and mini), a Mac Mini, a Studio Display and multiple Thunderbolt displays from the past.

some of apple products I own

I picked Apple because of their attention to detail and overall better design language than the rest of the industry. This particular level of minimalism just connects with me well.

This post is not intended to mock Apple or their designers — some of the best in the industry work there.

This post’s whole purpose is to show you — a junior designer, that we’re all humans and we make mistakes — no matter our job description.

Juniors are very insecure about themselves, their work and their skills. They often use the word “aspiring” in their bio, purposefully undermining what they do.

That’s impostor syndrome talking. I know, I’ve been there myself.

So now I hope you see that even the companies many designers look up to also make mistakes, omissions or…