by Cesare Rocchi

How many design titles?

by Cesare Rocchi

We go so far as to define the very word "design" as arranging pixels for display on a screen.

Drew Wilson source

I am with Drew on this. Every choice in a product contributes to its design. If a DevOps engineer spots that a service is slow and makes it faster, he/she improves the overall experience of the product. Would you call that engineer a designer? Probably not, but still the design has been improved.

For fun I tried listing all the titles that I have heard of:

  • Visual designer
  • Graphical designer
  • UI designer
  • UX designer
  • Web designer
  • Pixel pusher (really?)
  • Information Architect
  • Interactive designer
  • API designer
  • Ethnographic designer
  • Programming language designer (yep)
  • Motion graphic designer/ animator
  • Interior designer
  • Industrial designer

If you introduce yourself as a designer I am probably gonna ask you: “which type of designer?” The title is so overloaded that it’s becoming a joke. There are so many implications that it’s probably easier to show your portfolio, instead of trying to explain who you are.

If I go to a bar and say that I am a designer, people are probably going to think that I make fancy and expensive chairs. That’s clearly a cliché. There are many designers focusing on recyclable materials lately.

More and more often I end up saying that “I make software”. I think it’s easier to understand and less pompous. It also easily segues into the question: “what are you building now?”, which focuses the chat on my products and not my titles.

It feels like a win-win. So yes, I make software.