Our Designers of the Year winners are generally an amiable sort €” the type to modestly credit their clients as collaborators and hype up the talent surrounding them in the design community. But even the most demure designer has something that gets them fired up. We poked the bear and asked some of this year’s DOTY champs to share their biggest design pet peeves: diplomacy be damned!

Kevin Vallely, Arthur Erickson Memorial Award Winner 2021

Vallely Architecture, Vancouver

“Impatience. It often leads to unnecessary compromise. If It's worth designing, then It's worth designing right. Also, an unrealistic budget. It's better to make it clear early that you will get this for this and that for that. If that doesn't resonate, I politely step away. Finally, not recognizing the design skills you€™ve honed over the years. If your doctor or lawyer suggests something, you will typically listen. That respect doesn't run as deep for the design profession. It often comes down to your opinion being just one voice among many, irrespective of your years of experience.

Matt McLeod & Lisa Bovell, Architectural Designers of the Year 2021

McLeod Bovell Modern Houses, Vancouver

“Notches!” €”McLeod

“Meaningless ceiling drops.” €”Bovell

Caine Heintzman, Industrial Designer of the Year 2021


“Working on a computer.” 

Ryan Donohoe, Landscape Designer of the Year 2021

Donohoe Living Landscapes, Vancouver

“For landscape planning: freehand curves, tight curves in a small space and when a design lacks a consistent design language.” 

READ MORE: 10 Designers Share The Childhood Moments That Hinted at Their Design Future

Amanda Evans, Robert Ledingham Memorial Award Winner 2021

Amanda Evans Interiors, Vancouver

“Making decisions based on needing to have something ‘right now,’ versus not thinking about the long-term solution. Always invest in what you love, not the quick fix!”

Sumer Singh, Maker of the Year 2021

Mtharu, Calgary

“Using minimalism as a facade for lack of rigour in design and process.”

Amanda Hamilton, Interior Designer of the Year 2021

Amanda Hamilton Interior Design, Calgary

“Matching furniture sets. Retailers do this to make it easy for customers, but it results in bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms that lack personality. Pieces do not need to be identical in style, shape or material, they just need to speak the same design lingo and be thoughtfully curated to create a balanced, interesting space.” 

READ MORE: The Most Perfectly Designed Objects, According to Designers