A job title that encompasses many skills that someone in the Creative Industry may have.
Wikipedia describes the term Designer as the following
A designer is a person who designs. More formally, a designer is an agent that “specifies the structural properties of a design object“. In practice, anyone who creates tangible or intangible objects, such as consumer products, processes, laws, games and graphics, is referred to as a designer.
I can recollect the first time I realised there were several career pathways that a Designer could take. It was at School in A-Level Design when we were all tasked to design a product to manufacture. Your own idea, anything you wanted, designed your way as long as it was justified. The idea pool and concept generation for products was a broad spectrum. Our class came up with a whole host of products: Cameras, POS systems, pens, hats, garages and handhelds to list a few.
It took me a few years to realise that my idea was not the only design solution to a brief.
With three of us attending Loughborough University. It quickly dawned on me that I was in a mix of Designers from multiple backgrounds who would interpret a brief in ways that I could never had imagined.
Working as a Professional Designer, my work is constantly under scrutiny from Directors, Buyers, Marketing Managers and Technologists alike. Each with their own subjective views of what the design should be. Ultimately a design should fulfil the brief set, not the stakeholders opinion. There is a fine line between what I know is right VS what you think is right, with the power struggle of the Designer in the creative process being all too familiar for us all.
I use the words “us all” as a collaborative plural, because after years of working in the industry. I know that design doesn’t just come from a single person. The front end and back design process of Conceptual Visualisation to Implementation Coding shows how digital design works.
Another fond memory of mine is when I first starting working Professionally as a User Experience Designer (UX) at IAT. I met two other Designers (Graphic & Digital) amongst Information Architects (IA) who I thought had the same skill set as I did. Manufacturing, Production, Packaging, Product, Supply Chain and Supplier Management are skills that I cherish as one of my core strengths. To be able to look at the bigger picture when I’m not immersed in the nitty gritty of moving a border or stroke 1px across to perfectly align with an edge.
When I have conversations with other Designers, I can see how my history and background of designing commercially for mass manufacture and launch benefits a project. Being able to see what problems would arise before the problem becomes the problem. However, my design skillset is specific for my client and company projects. Should you ask another Designer what they design you would get a different answer almost every time.
Fabric, Graphic, Illustration, User Interaction, User Experience, Product, Packaging, Online, Digital, Web – I could go on for hours. The split between physical and digital. The hierarchy or an Intern, Junior, Middleweight, Senior/Lead and Head. The term Designer is broader than most if not possibly all job titles.
The mentality of a Designer is very focused and borderline OCD. We like to share our ideas and voice our opinions with others, whether we listen and take advice from others is mainly down to the maturity of the designer and project situation. We all share the same outlook that the solution and design is almost like our baby. It was created by a series of clicks, layer masks, strokes, colour selections etc which gave it a personality and bought it to life.
A few weekends ago, my great friend Rohan and I met up for a few drinks post football match. Along with two of my other friends who were at the pub, we were asked, “What do you design?” As per above. We both gave very different answers. With Rohan being a Digital Designer, I have designed Web Banners, Logos and Websites before, but he offers the backend coding for Email e-Shots and newsletters which are coded via HTML. Which makes him much more suited for his role. No doubt that either of us could learn about each of our specialisms in our role and become successful at it, but that is the beauty of design. It’s a free-formed discipline that is a never ending journey of learning and discovery.
We all take for granted a great design. Design is all around us. Simply reading this blog on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop, it’s on a product that has been designed by a Designer for you the consumer. Each designer has their own specialisms and skills! So for now, let’s roll along with the Wikipedia definition and remember…