9 words heard in a meeting as a digital art director, and also as a sailor.

Erica Peterson
Published in
3 min readJul 21, 2017


Language is terrifying for me now.

1. MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

The art director hears: The least amount of features I can release, so that first generation users love the product just enough not to throw it directly in the trash.

The sailor hears: Patching the boat with enough fiberglass, mahogany, and ply so that water drains out slightly faster than it pours in.
Glueing the mast back together is probably an MVP feature.”

2. Out-of-the-box

The art director hears: A product made for everyone that works for no-one. Let’s integrate with it!

The sailor hears: A boat made for everyone that works for no-one. Let’s buy it!
Chad: “Emily and I just found this great out-of-the-box sailing solution.”
Me: “You got a Beneteau Océanis? That’s cute.”

The Westsail (Wet Snail) 32 is also a great out-of-the-box option for anyone who loves sailing backwards all the time.

3. Flexibility

The art director hears: We’re going to build powerful editing tools to provide our client admins the power to totally customize their content. No one will understand how to use it.

The sailor hears: If you’re looking to glue something that needs to bend when it dries, I’m more of a G-Flex girl—but I’d settle for Titebond III.

We strive to provide maximum flexibility.

4. Integration

The art director hears: Has anyone actually looked up the API documentation for this yet?

The sailor hears: The feeling I get at the end of my watch, where I hesitate to stand up for fear that my ass has completely integrated with the cockpit seat.

5. Access Control

The art director hears: The process of defining admin roles and user permissions. Either devote time to understanding the different tiers of access that are appropriate for each persona—or set up all users as super admins and call it a day.

The sailor hears: I need to get access to the icebox for another beer, take control of the tiller.

6. Mobile-Ready

The art director hears: Building a product responsively from the ground up. Pretty standard, at this point.

The sailor hears: A shorthand phrase that could accurately describe my living accommodations.

7. Aggregate

The art director hears: This is one of my favorite words. An almost magical process by which I can fill a web page with content that my team didn’t have to author or illustrate.

The sailor hears: The process of collecting rogue screws.
“I aggregated 12 flatheads that wriggled out of the stanchions this summer; I’ll put them in the index for later.”

8. Phase it out

The art director hears: A strategy by which we buy some time to work on complex features, by releasing light features first. I like this idea.

The sailor hears: Another shorthand phrase that could accurately describe my living conditions.
This season, I phased out my hair dryer, one duffel bag of clothing, and all of my high heeled shoes. Needed room for another Danforth.

9. Iterate

The art director hears: Continuing to improve on released application in short cycles, and evolving our products to meet user needs.

The sailor hears: The quiet, sinister process by which my bank account is drained in making “massive improvements” to my sailboat.
Well, at least she floats. Can’t do over 5 knots, but we’ll iterate.

Been iterating on my cabin top all summer…



Erica Peterson
Editor for

Digital Art Director at Type/Code. Conqueror of the useless.