You have a penchant for the creative, and a flare for artistic design. If you do, you can look at an advertisement, a product label, or a website and can tell immediately if it’s a design success or a colossal flop. You have the eye of a designer, but where in that very broad career spectrum does your true strength reside? If you’ve been mulling over a potential career in design, but aren’t entirely sure which field appeals to you most, this article will aim to help you narrow your focus.
What Does a Graphic Designer Do?
Graphic design involves communicating a brand’s message or purpose through visual material. The outputs delivered by a graphic designer can vary greatly, ranging from a simple logo to the design and layout of an entire website. Within the relatively broad realm of graphic design resides a number of specialities, where designers can choose to focus their efforts on delivering poignant print marketing material, motion graphics and animation.
Graphic designers employ a finite list of design elements to create designs that are visually striking, and more importantly, memorable to the viewer. These elements include:
- Line weight;
While it’s difficult to dial-in on exactly what a student of graphic design can expect to do upon graduation, some of the most common roles that count graphic design amongst the required skills include:
- Graphic designer;
- Graphic artist;
- Web designer;
- Visual designer;
- Art director;
- User Experience designer.
What Does a UX (User Experience) Designer Do?
Like the name implies, UX designers are the professionals that companies hire to ensure that their software and mobile apps, are user-friendly and intuitive. They evaluate how well a particular product or service anticipates and works with a user’s needs, and can help companies ensure their website and software is accessible and inclusive to all potential users.
UX designers are guided by one very important principle: is the user going to find this easy or frustrating to use? UX designers typically work in developing wireframes, A/B testing models and web programming languages. They possess the unique ability of being able to combine aesthetically pleasing design with functionality. If a website looks good but is difficult to navigate, it will fail to promote repeated use. Likewise, if a piece of software works well but is aesthetically dated, people won’t enjoy using it. Here are a few of the tools the prospective UX designer should have at their disposal:
- Visual design;
- Adobe Photoshop;
- Web design;
- Usability testing;
- Prototype development;
- Information architecture.
What Does a Creature and Character Designer Do?
To put it simply, creature and character designers are vital to the success of many television shows, movies and video games. If the characters are poorly conceived, it shows. If the characters are poorly rendered, it shows. It also shows, if the characters don’t move in the way they should. The point is, creature and character designers make the unbelievable believable, and the success of the program or game in question often hinges on their skills.
Of course, a successful creature and character designer has many tools in his or her toolkit. They must be able to create anatomically correct creatures and beings while still somehow adding otherworldly qualities. Being a skilled 2D artist will help during the development process, but a skilled creature and character designer will need to be able to create realistic 3D renderings using sophisticated software programs, such as ZBrush.
A character designer works alongside a number of stakeholders to turn a description of a creature or character into a full-fledged, on-screen being. From 2D, roughly sketched concept art to full-on 3D sculpting including texture and colour, the creature and character designer is responsible for bringing to life the vision of the director and writers, and ensuring that a digital element looks and moves the way the audience would expect it to.
What Does an Interior Designer Do?
It might appear that interior designers don’t share much with the other disciplines, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Interior design involves more than matching paint swatches with fabrics. A good interior designer can access a physical space and unlock its unused functionality and maximize its aesthetic potential. Many of the same design elements that govern graphic design are used by interior designers, but rather than making use of the Adobe Suite of products, this designer’s weapon of choice is Computer Aided Drafting/Design (CAD) software.
What Does a Photographer Do?
Similar to interior designers, photographers (at first glance) seem to dwell on the fringe of the design world. Ask any photographer, however, and they’ll tell you that photography involves more than simply pointing and clicking a button. A competent photographer is able to tell a story in just one frame, a valuable skill highly sought after by marketing companies. Photographers must also consider things like lighting and composition when framing a shot, and can spend hours editing pictures using programs such as Adobe Photoshop to increase the impact of the image.
What Does an Advertising & Promotions Manager Do?
Professionals in this realm of design need to be able to take a macroscopic view of a company in order to help develop concepts for various marketing campaigns. There is also a sales element to this role, so the prospective promotions manager needs to be comfortable navigating customers through contracts and help paint “the big picture” to those that lack a similar artistic vision.
The point of all this is, you needn’t worry about carving out a niche for yourself if you don’t want to as there are numerous career paths that you can take that are challenging, engaging and rewarding. Best of all, the list of designer-type careers is ever growing, something that many industries simply cannot claim.