Ask DN: What is a "Product Designer"?

over 7 years ago from Rolando Murillo, Co-founder @ Sensive

  • Nicolle RichardNicolle Richard, over 7 years ago

    Read "Product Design for the web" by Randy J. Hunt Creative Director at Etsy. Although he's a "creative director" he started out as an interactive designer to then product designer and lead to Creative Director. The book outlines what all these "designer" titles mean as well as what each role entails. It's a fun, easy, and quick book that you could read in a matter of days! I am a product designer @ Fullscreen and it's helped me understand the direction I want to take in my own career as a designer. I hope it brings you clarity but also enjoy his book as much as I did!

    1 point
    • Pedro PintoPedro Pinto, over 7 years ago

      This book is really interesting.

      0 points
    • Rolando MurilloRolando Murillo, over 7 years ago

      Thanks Nicolle! I'll give it a shot. I probably didn't introduce my concern properly, however: even I am a Product Designer by being a Product Manager at, it's a different title but the responsibilities are the same at the end of the day. My question was whether we should transfer our job title to our career path. Outside of, I'm a Designer, I've done so many different kind of projects and I want to explore different disciplines of design.

      I wonder why people call themselves "Product Designers" outside of their jobs. Say, you go to their portfolio websites or social media accounts and you will read that title and basically see interfaces, for example. An entire application (online or mobile) is a product and mainly an interface. Could it be that people don't feel as confident calling themselves Interface Designers (or UI Designers) that they need to include something that sounds more profound? The kind of work delivered hasn't changed, so the only reason I would think titles have is because there is a trend involved.

      1 point
      • Nicolle RichardNicolle Richard, over 7 years ago

        I see what you're saying.

        I believe it depends on the company you work for, and all companies are different. In my experience if you're at a smaller company (10-50 people) your role consists of MANY job titles. You're a product manager, a designer, a business owner, maybe even a developer. But at certain companies where they are large enough, they might need a "product designer" to dedicate all their efforts on usability and interface designs. Not to say that product managers and designers aren't intertwined because they are in many ways.

        Think of it this way, if I am at a 200 person company designing a marketing site for a new product that collects emails to grant early access, I need to think about the user experience when collecting those emails. I also need to describe the feeling that we're trying to convey for those signing up. Now, deciding where those emails go, how they are filtered and organized, what messaging we need to come up with as a business strategy is not my main focused. BUT of course they are considered during the process.

        @ Fullscreen Being a product designer means, like you said, being a product manager, concepting these business strategies except your main focus is creating the experience "UX"(sketching, wireframing, prototyping), usability "UI" (making sure the experience makes sense to a user) , as well as look and feel "visuals" (clean and simple, creating style guides and eventually translating them to CSS).

        Being a product manager @ Fullscreen collects information with the business owners whether it's B2B or B2C or beyond. They also deligate tasks amongst the business owners, the users, the devs and the designers.

        Whatever your interests are you should take the path you enjoy the most. You could continue to be both product manager AND designer. I would still recommend reading that book "Product Design for the Web" it will seriously explain your concerns on this matter and possibly shed light on your career path. Hope this helped!

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