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What am I?
At the start of my career, I was a graphic designer. Then a few years or so in I began to dabble in the early days of web design. After diving in fully I became a graphic and web designer. But eventually, I wanted my pretty sites to do more. So I started programming. Which made me a graphic designer and a web designer/developer.
But of course, throughout my career, I’ve also written copy, created marketing campaigns and strategies, designed packaging, trade shows, edited videos, consulted and guided entrepreneurs, and played a part in so many types of design & marketing projects - I really do suffer from an identity crisis at times.
Is that what I am? Perhaps it’s so tough to describe what I am because you simply can’t limit yourself to one type of design activity anymore. You now need to be proficient – if not an expert – in all manner of marketing and design. In the digital era, the segmentation of design skills has evaporated. You’re now expected to know it all. To be flexible; to adapt; to handle almost any request.
It’s challenging, but exciting.
Perhaps it’s the new versatility that creates misunderstanding in the minds of the folks I meet. I mean, when I’m asked “what do you do?”... if I answered “I’m a doctor” (or a lawyer or a banker) people recognize and understand what these professionals do. But when I answer, “I’m a designer” I’m usually met with a quizzical look.
Maybe things will change. Design is now considered integral to the success of many start-ups. And the appreciation of good design is seeing a resurgence. But folks still don’t understand what it takes to be a good designer. Maybe because the barrier to entry is so low. You don’t need four years of college followed by med school or law school. You simply have to be creative, mixed with some talent and drive.
Or perhaps it’s because good design often is so subtle that we don’t even realize its influence on us. We know it when we see it, but most don’t understand nor appreciate what it took to create a great design. Making something look simple isn’t easy.
Granted, even after writing this, I still don’t know how to answer the question, “what am I?” I’m so many things today. But now, when I’m asked what I do… I might now introduce myself as a graphi-weba-designa-packa-showy-marka-consulta-lope. Though I’ll probably answer with my usual, “I’m a designer. And I help people sell lots of stuff.”
Jun 13, 2014
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