INside Track: Ubbie Dubbie

At a recent Bat Mitzvah I attended along with my family, my daughter introduced me to a school friend of hers. She was a petite girl with a clearly mischievous bent who immediately started babbling at me in some unusual seemingly foreign language. To my amazement, my daughter understood her and began translating her friend’s conversation. I suddenly realized that she wasn’t speaking in tongues but rather in Ubbie Dubbie, the new millennium mutation of the pig Latin I remembered from grade school.

We designers have our own version of Ubbie Dubbie that we should be careful about employing when speaking with our non-design peers and managers. When we start throwing around terms like kerning, CMYK, knockout, index color, bitmap, vector et al, we only confuse and frustrate our co-workers and clients. Whether you use these terms as a weapon or an attempt to assert your design superiority or simply out of laziness, know that there is no upside to this tact.

Of course, we’d all like our corporate counterparts to use a little less of their Ubbie Dubbie dialect but, unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen. So it’s a good idea to school yourself up on business jargon – primarily acronyms like ROI, SOPs, BHAG, BOI, COLA etc.

Language is the one of our most powerful opportunities to connect with the business community. Use it wisely.

As my daughter’s friend would say, “Bubest ubof lubuck.”

2 thoughts on “INside Track: Ubbie Dubbie

  1. DCM

    As an in-house designer, I am ultimately responsible for effectively communicating my companies message. I am regularly trying to re-work copy that is presented to me that is filled with jargon and business-speak and replace it with clear language. It would be silly to force what I attempt to remove from our external communications on my internal audience…

    1. Andy Epstein

      I absolutely agree with your response, and if the post came across as if I was advocating a wholesale endorsement of corporate-speak, then I apologize. My point was that it’s important to understand the jargon so that, as an in-house designer, you can do exactly what you described yourself doing – reinterpreting the slang for others who will not and should not have to understand it. Many in-house designers in your position may be inclined to not make the attempt to rework the communications that you get and then refine.

      I would say, though, that when communicating with those people who handed you the jargon-riddled text, it’s appropriate to use it with them.