Frustrograms: Simplified images representing the most irritating moments in daily life.

92% of us use emojis now. Whether it’s because we are simply too busy to write words or to god forbid it – make a phone call – images have become more powerful than ever before. Emojis are officially the new preferred method of communication. Everything has logo or pictogram or something these days.

So, after one of our infamous brainstorming sessions, we came up with the idea of designing logos for daily activities, as if they were brands (let’s face it, even the sun has been claimed by someone). Yep, we’re serious, even though we’re a custom t shirt printing company, we can come up with innovative stuff! 

To give you a bit of background, the design process for the creative exercises can go one of two ways… sometimes the investigation stops the idea dead in its tracks – it’s been done before, there is no interesting content, the concept for the graphics doesn’t come, or the idea simply turns out to be a bit boring. Occasionally however, we stumble across a gem, a diamond in the rough of inspiration that leads us to beat around the bush and to discover a world of something far more fun and interesting graphically.

38 Frustrograms for those irritating moments in life

This time around, we hit gold. You see, we realised that the intriguing thing about daily activities is not the activities in themselves, but more so the sheer frustration of when the simplest of things in our routine go irritatingly wrong. The idea came from having read an article about extremely polite insults that are worse than any swear word just a month earlier.  We can all identify with those moments that make you say ‘shit’ out loud, shed a tear, nearly punch a complete stranger, or best of all, those for which you only have yourself to blame. I came to the conclusion that they needed graphic representation: frustrating pictograms or as I like to call them, frustrograms. The intention is that they will strike a chord with you, push all of your buttons and wind you up just by looking at them.  So, I set myself the challenge. To capture nuanced feeling that may not be apparent from simple text’ just like the emoji culture we live in.

It started out with a simple hair in the mouth and within a few hours, we had the whole office sharing their deepest frustrations in life from cold coffees to people who bite into kit-kats without breaking the sticks (as apparently you are ‘supposed’ to).

#38 Hair in the Mouth

A mild irritation, until you can’t find the bloody thing. I find this one particularly amusing, since it reminded me of something a British comedian once said (I can’t remember who unfortunately)… there are only two things that will stop anyone and everyone in full swing in the middle of sex – needing the toilet and a hair in the mouth.


#37 The Oversized Biscuit

Biscuit manufacturers surely know the average size of a mug (if you buy a weird small rimmed mug the responsibility is on you) so why do they put us through this biscuit dunking trauma? Please discuss.


#36 Unexplainable Tangle

Your headphones don’t go missing, but there is this triangle of mystery in which they seem to spontaneously tangle, buy whatever cable tidy gadget you like. It just seems to happen so quickly! How do they do that.


#35 The Real End of the Toothpaste

Many of us live on the edge, carefully twisting, rolling and squeezing in order to make 2% of the tube last 200% of the life of your toothpaste. Even so, the end always seems to come as a genuine surprise.


#34 The Rogue Umbrella

It’s not actually that windy, and as far as you’re concerned, it was pretty well behaved when it was hanging there innocently at home. Now suddenly it has a life of its own, intentionally trying to embarrass you/send you into outer space/poke you in the eye at every given opportunity. Bastard.


#33 The Impossible Plug-in

You try it both ways, 10 times, convinced that something funny is going on, only to find that after the 11th attempt it slots in like a peanut. Who is the creator of this evil USB conspiracy? Steve Jobs himself? Just to make matters worse, you can’t actually see the hole, unless you are a) a contortionist or b) will to jeopardise the life of your computer in twisting it around in an awkward fashion. Grrrrr.


#32 Adult Puzzles

Remember that ‘fun’ game you had as a child, where you were to learn about shapes and spaces and colours and jazz? Well, I was always crap at it, but what I never realised was that it was designed to enable you to reach the wonderful world of electricity. Don’t know about you, but I’ve never been able to plug anything in without looking at it.


#31 The Icy Shower

Whether your partner is washing the dishes, your boiler has broken or you have simply ‘run out’ of hot water, this first world problem is bound to put you in a crap mood for most of the day. Especially if you live in the UK. Brrr.


#30 Putting your Foot in it

Literally. The pavement is wide, your shoes are small, yet just before you go ten-pin bowling you land right in it, wearing the trainers you own with the most stylized tread on the bottom. No amount of casual grass wiping, desperate scraping with twigs or that odd Kleenex is going to save you now.


#29 The Malicious Alarm Clock

The alarm conspiracy. It goes off in the middle of the night when you least want it to, yet on the most important of weekdays, it casually decides not to make a sound. Typically you awake 2 minutes before you are supposed to have arrived at work, causing you to unrealistically hurry in the attempt to get ready in what normally takes 45 minutes, 1 minute.


#28 Fresh Sock in Water

9 times out of 10 it was me who spilt the water on the floor in the first place, only adding to the extreme sense of frustration as I wet just one of my nice clean, dry socks.


#27 No Life!

Well, at least you realise you don’t have one when neither does your phone. God forbid you may find yourself out, in the real world with no charger.


#25 No Wifi

What will you do without the internet? As you try to access everything you use on a daily basis in a no wifi zone, suddenly you can’t remember how you ever had a life before. Time to steal the neighbour’s.


#26 Youtube Try your Nerves.

If you’ve managed to avoid all the other irritating things, you ain’t getting out of this one. Youtube craftily knows not only when to put that irritating advert up (having targeted you with chocolate you can’t get at 3am) it also seems to recognise which song you most want to hear to drop the 100 second advert that you can’t skip.


#24 The Wobbly Trolley

You’re in a hurry and trolley isn’t playing ball – he wants to go in any direction that you don’t and will protest will a nail-biting squeal or attempt to throw you to the floor in order to get its own way. What a dick.


#23 The Magnetic Toilet Paper

It’s a fact: Toilet paper only becomes magnetic to shoes when you least want it to, be it a posh restaurant, a cinema – generally anywhere where everyone will notice except you.


#22 The Tepid Coffee

It’s not hot or cold. You tried to time the drinking of it just right, but now it tastes rubbish. You can add ice to it, or re-heat it in the microwave, but once you’ve rumbled it at the tepid stage, you and your relationship with your coffee is doomed.


#21 Bog Roll 1 – 0 Your arse

Only once you have dropped the bomb will you discover that there is only one sheet of toilet paper left. Better if there were none actually, because that one sheet provides you with this odd one ray of hope best not to be explored…


#20 The Suicidal Biscuit

Friend of the oversized biscuit, yet more enthusiastic. He’s diving in and dissolving whether you like it or not, knowing that you’ll be reminded of its existence at the end of your cuppa when you discover his ashes. Poor suicidal biscuit.


#19 The Cheeky Buttons

They know where they are supposed to go and so do you, but somehow they seem to skip, in some unidentifiable moment leaving you to suffer when you reach the end and find that lonely button. Damn it.


#18 The Mascara Mirror

It would be nice if it could reflect onto the other eye to save you some time, but instead it pastes itself all over your cheek, making your face grey instead of pretty. Cheers mascara.


#17 The Stubborn Nacho

You’re hungry, that guacamole has got your name all over it, but nacho has other ideas. Not matter how strong he may seem at first, nacho is gone suspiciously weaken just at the point of entry, leaving you with half a nacho and more frustratingly, no dip. Man overboard!


#16 The Lonely Socks.

I often wonder if there is a Tinder for socks, where they can finally pair up with likeminded friends. Unfortunately until then, I shall only purchase black socks. Ha! I win the sock battle.


#15 The Moving Cupboard Corner

Just like the mysterious tangling headphone cable, cupboard corners move around and re-align with the most vulnerable part of your head when you least expect it.


#14 Self-cannabalism

You already had breakfast, but your teeth think otherwise. If all life’s little frustrations aren’t enough as it is, your own body decides to attack itself. Ouch.


#13 The Toe-Stub

We all hate those milliseconds in which you are perfectly aware of what has just happened, yet the pain hasn’t quite sunk in yet… here it comes… AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Shit!


#12 Oversized Cars

Well, by a few millimetres. They parked just far enough to make you think you could attempt it, yet just close enough such that they is now way on earth you are going to get it in there. You’ll pass that same space repeatedly in your desperate search for the last parking space in the city.


#11 The Neverending Sellotape

Does it actually move as you go around? I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that that is exactly what is happening, not only that, but it glistens momentarily in odd places to make you think you’ve had success only to tear and double over between your finger tips.


#10 The Youtube Exclusion

Youtube will kindly show you a shot of that video you want to watch, all those great comments, etc, but they rudely tell you that you are in the wrong country to actually be able to enjoy it like everyone else. Why don’t they just filter it to avoid all that annoyance?


#9 The Wheel of Death

Any Mac user knows that the spinning circle of colour is the work of the devil and that sightings of it may cause panic attacks, heart attacks and even sudden death.


#8 The Rogue Table

Friend of the rogue trolley. Seems perfectly fine at first glance, yet the moment you lay the table with a banquet, suddenly it’s trying to cover you and your romantic partner in spaghetti.


#7 The Stairway to Hell

Like the fresh clean socks, the fresh clean and sometimes even new tights may become possessed and begin to self-mutate on the most important of occasions.


#6 The Python Tights

If you’re fortunate enough to not be plagued by possessed tights that self-mutate, you may get landed with the ones that behave like the clothing version of a python and try to wrap around your bits until you squeal with discomfort. Yuk.


#5 The Unreachable Mobile Phone

Despite technology making lighter phones, somehow it always swims deep into the depths of one’s handbag, until it is almost unreachable in the case of a phone call, rendering it rather useless.


#4 The Inverted Shoes

You’re a grown up, this shouldn’t happen to you following your many years of experience with shoes. Yet it does, and it really pisses you off.


#3 Infinite Coffee Rings

Ok, you admit it, you spilt a teeny weeny bit of coffee over the rim of the mug. That’s no reason to have to endure the suffering of 36 million coffee rings on the table – surely you don’t deserve that. How does it spread so bloody far anyway?!


#2 The Incorrect Devouring of a Kit-Kat

This one was news to me, but apparently not to the rest of the office, providing possibly the worst reaction among the team at Printsome in terms of extreme irritation.


#1 The Not-so-Lucky Cigarette

You’ve tried to light it the wrong way. Now, not only does it stink even worse, but you look pretty stupid too. Great.


If you think we’ve missed any frustrograms and you’d like us to design them, give us a bell at Printsome, we’d be happy to share your frustrations.

Printsome is a t-shirt printing agency offering custom t-shirts in Belfast to printed polo shirts in Wolverhampton, and everywhere in between. For a quick quote or simply a nice chat about personalised t-shirts or brands sponsoring countries, give us a call!


Hayley's journey began in the Design Department, where she left her stamp all over the Printsome blog -- an absolute wizard with formats, infographics, and illustrations! From there she branched out into proving her writing skills were also top-notch. She writes freelance about printing for the blog. Her creativity is versatile, her drive, insatiable. She is also Communication Coordinator at MOB (Makers of BCN), whilst co-writing Audiovisual City Magazine.

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