What type of designer are you?

An introduction:

I wrote this article after having a conversation with Shannon Yelland of Mystic Marketing at the Northern Voice conference about how we started out as designers in this industry and had moved on to other areas and how currently we weren’t sure what to put on our business cards. Because we weren’t sure what exactly we called as we have alot of different experience in different areas.

What type of designer are you?

If you’re a designer and you’re like me, you might be wondering what type of designer you are. With all the terms like: experience designer, interaction designer, interface designer and graphic designer floating around out there you could be a little confused. The good news, you’re not alone.

Employers and companies like to put titles on positions, assign duties and pre-requisites for those positions and this is where the confusion starts. Many professions actually overlap and nowadays we are required to perform multiple disciplines within our roles.

To find out what type of designer you are, let’s first define the common titles given to us in the design industry.

Graphic Designer
A graphic designer is commonly defined as a designer, which is responsible for the graphic elements on a website which would include logos, images and buttons. A graphic designer would be responsible for all aspects of visual communication to the visitor.

Interaction Designer
An interaction designer is usually more concerned with how the user interacts and behaves with the website and of course how to website reacts back. They would mainly be concerned with the interactions with the user.

Front end designer
A front end designer usually is responsible for the graphic design, any HTML, XHTML and CSS coding. Front end designers are quite common and are tasked with many static websites. Once the design requires some database interaction or large functionality it is usually passed off to a developer.

Experience designer
Experience designers focus on the overall holistic experience the user would have with the website or application. Experience design encompasses and overlaps the disciplines of information architecture, graphic design, usability and interaction design.

Now that we have outlined what the titles everyone else is using are, did you notice that your skills probably fall into multiple categories? Chances are they did, mine do. Well the reason for that is because we are now required to have knowledge in multiple areas, which in turn make us more valuable as team members.

Currently designers are becoming more technical and more involved in the design process as opposed to being handed the wireframes and requirements documents and being asked to pretty it up. What does that mean for you? It means you need to step up your game and get more involved in the entire design process. It does not mean however that graphic designers and experience designers are only going to be doing what they do best. It means that designers are going to be working in larger more specialized teams to ensure maximum success of the project. For a designer, working in a large team helps if you have enough knowledge of the other areas to understand the other people on your team.

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