Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What I do

From Cameron Adams in response to this question about how to describe your job title. My answer is buried in there, and since some script on the page causes my browser to all but crash, I'll copy it for you here.
1) There are many kinds of designers. We forget, but there are software designers, database designers, process designers. All sorts of stuff is not graphical or visual in nature, but needs to be designed. I am not upset to be grouped in with the guys who design the flow of materials across a factory floor to become a product. At all. 2) Interaction is a bad word. There just is not a better one. Yes, experiences and interactions abound. I have given up, and just consider computer/digital=“interactive” for all these purposes. Everyone knows what you mean. 3) As a guy with an art degree, whose spent his whole career doing interactive and graphic design: design is not art. DThe solutions artists use are similar, but the intent is different. I, for one, am totally cool with you taking /any/ meaning out of my artwork. I am disappointed, and maybe not paid, if you get the wrong meaning out of a design, regardless of medium. I also could be persuaded to argue something about most art being consumable, vs. truly interactive. But I haven’t really gotten my head around that yet. 4) Why do we need titles. They have always been about folks who already know the industry. Short descriptions are just fine. "I design airplanes for Boeing." "I design radio systems for the Santa Fe railroad." "I program robots for a factory in KCK." "I design interactive systems for mobile phones." This works for 70% of those I meet at parties or on the street. Confused followup is always around the misunderstanding that software and hardware are separate design efforts, and they think I work for a phone manufacturer.
So, aside from my mom, who really doesn't understand what I do now?

1 comment:

Edward said...

Figure 3a got me laughing real hard! I know someone who's an employee of a Toronto web design company. He has told me stories that are kind of the same thing. When people ask him about what he does and he says that he's a designer, people ask different kinds of follow-up questions. But in the end, they end up deeming him as a creative person, and this, I must say, is true for all designers.