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While the job title of ‘designer’ can be pretty ambiguous because it is so broadly used across many different sectors from fashion to architecture and tech, it is still important to understand the differences in each role, even within the same sector.
For example, you could be looking for a skilled designer to create a new company logo, or a web designer to help create a new business website. While these two designers may work in the same sector, their individual roles, training, experience and skillsets are very different.
There are many trials and tribulations to hiring a skilled designer, so let’s take a look at some of these roles to help you figure out which type of designer is better for your project and why design should be an important part of your company culture.
Why is design so important?
These days it is very important that a company has a distinct design that is recognisable, identifiable, and relates well to its target audience. This is why a business needs to embed design into its company culture.
There is a symbiotic relationship between a company, its brand and its overall look and feel. This is why when hiring a new designer or design team for a project you need to make sure they can interpret your design and work in synch with your well-established brand rather than do something that clashes with your style and ends up confusing your customers or end-users.
As your company grows and evolves, the more fundamental it is for your core design to evolve and mature along with it. The products or services your company delivers are your customers first interaction with your company design.
Your company design needs to value and align with your customer needs. Making sure your company website or app has been designed properly to deliver each visitor or user the best possible user experience will make all the difference when it comes to turning them into a loyal repeat customer.
Many design elements need to permeate every aspect of your company – design goes deeper than just your external customer-facing branding. It includes your website, user experience, customer journey and more.
Hiring skilled designers will help to build trust and solid relationships between your company and your customers.
Types of designers and what they do
Let’s take a look at some of the most common designer roles and what they specialise in. Hopefully, this will help you to narrow down and identify the kind of designer or design team you need to hire for your project.
Bear in mind though that some designers will have multi-skills that cross over into more than one of these specialities.
A skilled web designer can help you with everything to do with your company website. This can include creating a brand new site or overhauling and updating your old company website.
Interactive web designers do more than just creating you a beautiful website. They understand how to take technology and use it to turn their designs into a reality that delivers your users with an online experience.
Generally, interactive web designers will be skilled in using Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and some may also understand and use CSS and HTML and be skilled in both UX and UI. They will combine their skills and knowledge to deliver a user experience that is smooth, easy and not confusing for the end-user.
UX designers are specialists that focus on understanding your users, their pain points and existing experiences. They will then look at designing a customer journey that delivers a good user experience for them.
These designers use human-oriented design principles that are a necessity in today’s world. Customers don’t care for designs and systems that don’t care about people. So here is where good UX design is important to help you empathise with your target customer and hold their attention throughout their customer journey.
UX designers can help you to create an app for example that feels like an extension of their mind – something that is very intuitive and aligned with their thinking. UX designers are communicators that can take complex problems, understand them, then make changes to improve your customer’s experience and help them to develop a good relationship with your company.
A graphic designer will help you with all forms of visual communication. They will use images, graphics and other visual material to communicate your ideas or message. Graphic designers have a broad range of specialisms so you can hire them to help bring concepts alive and tell a story using graphics.
They will manipulate a wide range of design elements to deliver results, including using shapes, colours, typography and images. They will be skilled in using design software such as Photoshop and InDesign to create designs and page layouts.
Graphic designers can help with company logos, flyers, letterheads, brochures and other printed business materials.
Motion graphics designer
Motion graphic designers can help you to create explainer or demonstration videos. They use a combination of materials to bring motion and life to your design. These materials include static images, text, illustrations, and more.
For example, if you want to create a short online explainer video that plays when someone lands on your website, they will create a captivating motion video complete with a voice-over or background music.
If you need help with a product design concept you have, then a product designer will help bring your ideas to life.
In the past (and today in other industries!) when we talked about a product designer, it would be referring to a designer who works to design physical products: everything from consumer electronics to cars and machinery equipment. Their design input would be involved in everything from prototyping to construction and testing. Their design process would start digitally using computer-aided design (CAD) programs such as AutoCAD or SolidWorks. From here they can create a fully functional 3D model to study before taking it to the prototype stage.
But today when we refer to product design, more often than not we will mean digital products in the form of apps and websites.
They will consider all aspects of the design including UX, UI and customer journeys to test the viability of the product and then with with the developer to help turn it into a real functioning app or website.
Choosing your designer
Hopefully, this breakdown has helped you to understand which type of designer will be a good fit for your project. However, before you go ahead and hire a designer you need to know exactly why you are hiring them.
Your designer will need some clarification about their role with you, so ask yourself these questions so both you and your designer will understand what you need from each other:
- What skills can they offer you?
- What problems will they solve?
- What value will they bring to your company and what value will you be giving to them?
Answering these questions will mean neither you nor your designer will be working in the dark and you will both be working from the same page from day one.
When looking for a digital design partner to work with it can be worth looking at Creative.onl as we are a specialist digital design agency that blends our creative flair with constructive strategic thinking.
We are proud to have worked with many successful brands over the years across all industries from small start-ups to large multinational organisations. We say there isn’t a job to big or too small that we cannot help with.