Different types of designers explained

You probably heard terms like graphic designer, product designer, or even fashion designer. Why not just call all of them a designer? Let me try to explain the different types of design roles.

Understanding the Design World

The design world is always changing, as technology and innovation continue to evolve. Every day, new products and services are created that require the assistance of design. This constant change can make it difficult to identify every relevant design area.

The word design itself is a pretty broad term that can be applied to a wield range of fields - from magazine editorial to car development-, thus creating an equally large number of design jobs and/or roles. A designer’s role is usually defined by what they create. However, every design jo shares a common goal: being at the service of people and developing innovative products and/or services experiences that improve the client's quality.

Here I will share some insight into a few common design roles that are focused on the following fields:


Product Design

Although the definition shifts from time to time, contemporary product design is defined by the process of making shippable physical or digital products. It’s about problem-solving and creating usable products and experiences while visualizing the user's needs and developing a possible solution where details matter.

The product designer goes through an analytical process and relies on a problem-solving approach to improve the end-user quality of life. They create meaningful products and experiences capable of solving problems.

Product design can be applied to many different fields, and the designer usually works with other professionals when developing a product. While a product designer is not necessarily in charge of a product's mechanical and technological aspects, they put their efforts into the user experience. They are constantly analyzing, designing, testing, launching, monitoring, and improving.

The product design and engineering of the single-speed bike Speed ONE is a good example of product design.

Graphic Design

Graphic Design is a form of communication that utilizes visual elements to convey ideas. It has become an umbrella term covering various types of design work, from logos to brochures to packaging, and so much more.

A graphic designer uses typography, color, shapes, and images to bring a concept, idea, or message to life. They use visually-appealing elements to create attractive designs that can be applied in multiples areas, like marketing, advertising, and even production. A well designed graphic material can catch the audience's attention and entice them to buy or use a certain product/service.

Thus, a graphic designer is one of the most in-demand professionals out there in the market. A graphic designer has the ability to know how to talk to the client through a visually-appealing medium that combines both technical and artistic skills.

Interaction Design

An interaction designer creates a wide range of web interfaces, from blog templates and simple landing pages to fully-functional responsive websites and mobile applications.

Because of their work field, interactive designers also need to understand the technology used to build the web interfaces and online experiences that they designed. As a result, some designers may have a basic knowledge of front-end web development and might even learn programming languages such as JavaScript.

Moreover, because of the web's complexity, there are many relatively new and high in-demand areas that an interactive designer may specialize in. Below are two fairly recent examples:

User Experience (UX): A UX designer is responsible for creating user experiences by designing every interaction between the user and the digital product. With User Testing, the designer analyses and evaluates the customer's experience when using a certain site or app and makes sure the experience caters to all of the client’s needs in a simple to understand way. While analyzing a specific experience, the UX designer focuses on these seven factors: usability, usefulness, value, credibility, desirability, findability, and accessibility.

User Interface (UI): A UI designer focuses on how people navigate a site or an app by creating visual elements such as buttons and menus. Essentially, the designer creates an interface using certain features and functions on a web product for the user to interact with. A UI designer not only designs the graphics but also defines how users interact with those graphics.

Motion Graphics Designer

A motion graphics designer is responsible for bringing movement to otherwise static graphic elements like images or text. The world of motion graphics involves a variety of work from animated presentations to product demos to movie title sequences.

Motion graphics is sometimes confused with animation, however, the two are quite different in terms of what each one wants to tell. While animation is the visual representation of a story, motion graphics gives life to something that is usually static. The filmmakers at Splæsh are using motion graphics in most of their films to better tell stories with impact.

Industrial Designer

Industrial designers develop every kind of physical product conceivable for a wide variety of purposes. They typically specialize in one type of product design, with their work being used in multiple manufacturing industries (i.e. city bicycles, automotive, lounge chairs or housewares…). While considering its function and form, an industrial designer uses prototypes, tests, and iterates any product from idea to life.

The industrial design process part of the single-speed bike Speed ONE is to ensure the manufacturability of the initial concept.


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