One Designer Fits All

I’ve had this post on my to-do list for quite a while now. And I suppose it follows on quite well from my last post – 10 things I’ve learnt as a Graphic Designer. I’m not really sure the point I’m trying to make with this post. Maybe that people expect too much from designers? Or maybe that all designers are different, with different backgrounds so we don’t all know how to do websites (because that’s web design people). Or maybe, just to make people aware that it happens.

Designers are expected to be able to do a lot more than just design. Which is fair enough is some respects. By lots of job ads now read that they want you to be proficient in web design, coding, marketing skills etc etc etc… the list is sometimes endless!

A lot of things that would normally be deemed ‘specialities’, are requested as a requirement, and to already know how to do all of them. Which is great for a senior designer with 8+ years experience. Not so much for us middle weight or junior designers.

I understand for in-house designers, companies feel the need to have one person for everything, and it is sometimes possible, but is it expecting too much? I think yes. A lot of places don’t understand that the basics are taught at Uni, and the rest we have to pretty much figure out ourselves. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do web design, as I think it’s something most Graphic Designers have learnt the basics in, but I just haven’t got round to it yet!

Over a year ago now when I was looking at design jobs here there and everywhere, most wanted to have someone that could do the design and the marketing. But most of those jobs that required that were around where I live, in Norfolk. I think businesses here feel they can’t afford to employ two people, so one person is expected to do both jobs!

This kind of happened to me in my previous role. I was enrolled onto a marketing course, my director making very clear that he was leading me down a pathway to further my career as a marketer AND a designer. He had big plans for me. At the time, I thought it was great – somebody was investing in me to learn more, and it would open up so many doors for me in the future. The reality was, unfortunately, I absolutely hated it. On top of this though, I was became an extra hand on the factory floor, operated the vinyl cutter amongst other random things. Which, with all due respect, I didn’t go to University for three years for. I’m not bitter at all, as I’m sure you can tell.

BUT anyway, I tried it. And I don’t regret doing that. If I hadn’t of tried, I wouldn’t know. I was quite surprised, because I quite liked the idea of knowing marketing strategies and linking it in with my design concepts. But to be honest, I found it all to be common sense. I was learning all this jargon marketing language just to pass the exams. Which I did, but with a lot of effort. So I passed the first year, and gritted my teeth to start the next one, but haven’t finished it. And I don’t think I ever will now. But I’d hate to think that because I didn’t get the bit of paper at the end that says I’m a fully trained Marketer, that it would affect me in the future.

But what can you do. Just your best, as always.

Creative Cowell x


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