Designer Segregation

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Recently design of user interfaces has become segregated into disciplines. I’m not really even sure how many there are. I’ve heard of user experience designers, visual designers, interaction designers and information architects. I’m not sure if I am in agreement with this trend. Try and try as I might, I cannot separate these things in my brain. It seems to me that user experience is visual, auditory, tactile…emotional.

Back in the day, I started as a print designer. We designed printed things together. One person didn’t pick the paper, one design how the thing opened, one person the font, one person the imagery…we worked together to design the entire thing and all had input on all of it. Sure we had a creative director, an art director, senior and junior designers and sure each of us had strengths and weaknesses…but we all worked together to create. And sometimes we switched it up, the person who designed the page numbers might handle the images on the next project. This is how we kept it fresh and good.

I think designing products and interfaces has lost this approach and suffers because of it. It is definitely a requirement to split up design tasks in order to accomplish an overall goal but I don’t believe putting designers into these boxes is a good idea. A designer is a designer. I have never met one designer that wasn’t good at approaching almost any problem from a design perspective and it is these different perspectives that give us the power to create. If we do not share our strengths and even our weaknesses we do not become a true creative team to grow and create together, we are merely individuals piecing parts together. We are constantly seeking designers who ‘think outside the box’ but we are putting them into boxes.