Own the Role of Designer, Not the Job Title

Note: This is Part 1 of the Ruminations for Aspiring Designers series.

There are far more people who practice design without “designer” in their job titles, than designers who do. Go talk to programmers, business analysts, startup founders, executives, managers, administrators, researchers, scientists and the workers who clean your office building’s washrooms, and you’ll find they design just as much as you do (if not more), albeit on wildly different things, some of which are far more complex than what you can handle. There’s nothing that makes “graphic designer”, “UX designer” or “service designer” stand out from anything.

Everywhere you go work for, your executives design the organization, your managers design the team cultures, your colleagues design everything else. You only get to design the tiny bit you’re allowed to design.

Design as a professional field is ultimately a very narrow one. It’s a very specialized field with specialized professions: graphic design, architecture, information design, UX and service design and so on.

If you want to do any of those highly specialized things, go for it.

But if you just want to do design, you can find it regardless of your profession and job title.

You don’t have to become a designer to design.

You do need to know how to design to be a real professional in any discipline.

Understanding design and the creative practice is the key to your decision.

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