Completely agree with Jonas’ take.
The naming is confusing. Isn’t design — at least in part — about clear communication? What’s the incentive for the fragmentation of names? What’s in it for the organisation? What’s in it for the individual?
I would still find a distinctive identifier to be helpful to differentiate from let's say, industrial designer. Even Art Lebedev website lists different branches of design they offer. Important when talking to people and organisations outside of digital echo chamber.
I struggle with what title to use. I don't really like "Computational Designer". It sounds very mathematical. But I agree there needs to be more differentiation than simply saying Designer.
"Digital" tends to work best for me in conversation.
I tell people outside the industry I’m a designer, or software designer. If they ask for more information, I can tell them the kinds of things I work on.
For people inside the industry, I just say I’m a designer. I don't want to limit myself. If I need to do some motion design, I’ll install After Effects and give it a shot. I don’t want feel boxed in by a title or lower my expectations. Even calling myself a designer seems restrictive — I like using Xcode and am happy to make simple code changes.
I see the titles we (as an industry) have given ourselves as confusing, reductive, and constraining. If a someone wants to know if you’re good at wire-framing workflows and user testing, they should ask. I don’t think sticking “UX” in your title tells them much more than just saying you’re a designer.
I think differentiation between UX (research, strategy, ideation, prototyping) and design (art direction, comps) is helpful when job hunting / recruiting, if only to denote which skills you have/don't have. But I just call myself a designer personally.
Yep, I definitely understand there’s some benefits to labelling things, especially when hiring or searching for a job. I’m not sure the current labels are the best representation of that — they’re confusing.
I do have a significant bias though: I like being involved in the entire process and I would struggle to let someone else be the ideas person and for me to just be the implementer, or vice versa. I don’t like the titles, because that’s not how I like to work.
That's fair, for me I do research and ideation but not implementation. For better or worse there's a perception that the startup model of designer is the default, and so I get offered a lot of jobs that expect art direction / comps / front end, and little to no research, strategy, user testing, prototyping.
Over the years I've regressed the title when telling someone what I do. It used to be quite specific, perhaps it made me feel specialised. Now it's simply 'Product Designer' or 'Designer'.
I do a little UI, I do a little UX, sometimes I have to brand something. I even try and educate and encourage the others in my team (engineers and PMs) that anyone can do parts of the design process, or 'design thinking', not just the visually-skilled people.
Yea, I'm in the same boat. I love it.
I do some product management, design thinking & spreading that culture, UX research, UI design. I don't write code, since it's a weakness (I understand what I can accomplish with diffferent languages). And I'm surrounded by talented engineers.
I think this is going to be the approach moving forward. Our roles are going to be a lot broader, such as:
- design facilitators: better communicators, process advocates, integrators; similar to product managers
- design practitioners: talented UI designers, prototypers, etc
- people can exist in both roles
- multiple disciplines conduct research & more.
I agree with this article so much. I've had to suffer through HUNDREDS of horrible portfolios of "ux designers" that can't design a proper way to present their work, or spend 5 minutes making sure the typography in their resume doesn't look like ass.
The best designers I know are pretty well rounded and constantly up their game on visuals, interaction, copywriting, coding... whatever is needed to get the job done.
The worst designers I've met say "my job is to figure out how it works, visuals are just sugar on top". Those are the ones I call "half designers" because they can only do half of a job, or maybe even less.
All this title fragmentation is just another side effect of a bunch of talentless hacks assaulting the job market because "design is the job of the future".
Totally agree with this. As someone who hires/runs a design team, it's always been striking to observe the endless ways designer choose to label themselves. I've discovered, unsurprisingly, that no label truly means the same thing to anyone.
I've personally found design titles get in the way of surfacing the best way a designer can contribute. I usually seek design generalists, especially those who self-identify as generalists. Obviously everyone has their interests/strengths which will be evident and recognized. Creating a zillion labels to try and pigeon-hole a creative human is counter productive.
The exception to this may be very large organizations, where such categorization is helpful from a management point of view.
Of course that fragmentation exist... I think that everybody have to define who is. I like to be named as a UI/UX Designer or Product Designer. UI (interaction design, visual design...) is the field where I feel more confortable and where I am more proficient, but also I´m an User Experience designer. I work in a service design team and I´m not only a UI, visual designer but UX is a huge playground and, for instance, I´m not a specialist in researching or user testing... So, if I have to define myself I like to say I am a UI / UX designer. In this case, the order is important and try to show who I really am. Beside, I am an art director, but, maybe that should made the job position too long :D
but especially the title "Product Designer" or "UX Designer" is just such a trendy term. The people that use those terms to describe themselves are many times literally the same people, that were graphic designers, then web designers, then ui designers, then ux designer and then product designers - still doing more or less the same things, with different tools. They wear the hat that gets the most attention... fragmentation can be valuable, but not if its only used to exclude terms that are not very "in" right now.
But of course you are right, one does not want to exclude things they do just by using a specific word to describe themselves. But from that point of view I'd have to describe myself as a branding-designer, information-architect, UX-designer, UI-engineer, frontend-developer and content strategist. Yet, the title that is in my working contract is "software developer". And from the point of the law, my profession is webdeveloper. My non-web friends think I am a programmer, and some just think that I am a graphic designer. O__O'
Everyone has to decide for themselves. I personally just exclude the term designer more and more from myself, because as we fragment more and more and whats actually left to describe a designer, is a stereotypical type of person, that I don't wanna be seen as.
Well, I´m just in the opposite side :) I´m a Designer. I don´t care about stereotype. I´m the kind of design I like to be. At the first steps of my career I worked in advertising and I was a web designer and art director. Currently, I work designing products and services, my focus is in user interfaces and interaction so I am a UI designer or product designer o whatever. Maybe in the future I will be a VR Designer, who knows... I agree with you. There are trends, of course, but trends are a consequence of the evolution of the discipline. Be described in the best way you find more accurate to describe who you are from a professional perspective. I think that is the point!