over 7 years ago from , Visual Strategist / Designer

Have you ever noticed how many times designers try to "sneak" the 4:20 into their mockups of anything displaying time? It kind of reminds me of what free masons would do when constructing public edifices, only a little less mysterious.

What are your thoughts about it? Do you think it decreases the professionalism of a piece? Or do you think it's arbitrary and irrelevant?

Just curious to see what the design community thinks. I happen to live in a region of the United States where "4:20" is a common theme and not that big of a deal, but I'm not sure how it plays out nationally and internationally (based on public knowledge and sociology).

Would love to hear your opinions on the matter.


  • Joe VillanuevaJoe Villanueva, 7 years ago

    Is it actually on purpose? I thought it was simply a default result from the prominence of teehan+lax templates and the times just never changing.

    7 points
  • Coleman TharpColeman Tharp, 7 years ago

    The "4:20" time is a joke stated in this blog post. http://www.teehanlax.com/story/teehan-lax

    4 points
    • Carlos Hermosillo, 7 years ago

      But who is the joke really on? In Aaron's case (above)—it was on him for not being in the know. I often feel this is the case with many designers, and that puts them at risk for being associated with something they possibly have nothing to do with. I guess for the sake of making this somewhat of a "PSA"—I decided to bring it up. I would hate to see creatives blindly present high-level work (no pun intended) without knowledge of the stigma associated with said time. It might be a joke to some, but it goes without saying that certain conservative individuals might find this low-brow and completely unprofessional.

      0 points
  • Daniël van der Winden, 7 years ago

    Holy shit, you guys are really over analysing this.

    2 points
  • Ari SawyersAri Sawyers, 7 years ago

    I always change it to 9:41 AM. 4:20 just looks cheesy.

    2 points
    • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, 7 years ago

      Why 9:41 specifically?

      0 points
      • Arian BehzadiArian Behzadi, 7 years ago

        "We design the product launch keynotes so that the big reveal of the product happens around 40 minutes into the presentation. When the big image of the product appears on screen, we want the time shown to be close to the actual time on the audience's watches. But we know we won't hit 40 minutes exactly. And for the iPhone, we made it 42 minutes. It turned out we were pretty accurate with that estimate, so for the iPad, we made it 41 minutes. And there you are—the secret of the magic time."

        via http://qr.ae/TW7t3

        0 points
      • Chad WhitakerChad Whitaker, 7 years ago

        It's the time displayed on all iOS devices on Apple.com. 9:41 was selected because it was roughly the exact time the iPhone was originally announced.

        More here: http://www.fastcompany.com/1611403/why-941-official-time-apple-product-photos

        0 points
  • Account deleted over 7 years ago

    I wrote a photoshop script that changes the time on my mockups so that I never look like a fool.

    2 points
    • Carlos Hermosillo, over 7 years ago

      Brilliant, Tyler! Is this something you're willing to share with the community? I think many people might find this incredibly helpful and time saving.

      1 point
  • Jon KantrowitzJon Kantrowitz, 7 years ago

    You're reading / thinking into this too much. The 4:20 time is from the Teehan+Lax iOS PSD, which many, including myself use to for wireframes and mockups. http://www.teehanlax.com/tools Unless time is relevant to communicating in your wireframe and mock, why change it...

    2 points
    • Fred YatesFred Yates, 7 years ago

      I think most people, including myself, think T+L used that specific time in their PSDs because of it's reference to smoking weed.

      If that's not true, I think the truth is lost on most people.

      4 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 7 years ago

    All of our promo images show 3:03AM, paying homage to Roland’s epic TB-303 synth.


    1 point
  • Jared EronduJared Erondu, over 7 years ago

    LOL. Then just use 9:42 AM like Apple does --> http://www.redmondpie.com/heres-why-the-iphones-time-is-always-set-to-942-in-apple-ads/

    0 points
  • Matt SistoMatt Sisto, over 7 years ago

    Lorem take me to your dealer ipsum.

    0 points
  • Matt SistoMatt Sisto, over 7 years ago

    The guy that replaced me at one my old jobs noticed that I had done this a bunch. In my case, it's in production code in a few places. I don't think it is unprofessional, per se. Just silly.

    Side note: DN guys. I'd love to be able to filter out message board style posts :-\

    0 points