When did graphic designer, graphic illustrator, coder, photographer and copy writer become one job?
For many years I have watched the very word “Graphic Designer” morph, twist and get watered down to it’s very meaning. With so many new ways to create a subset of visual communication, the term itself has become muted over the years due to interchangeable and overlapping skills. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer of embracing all of today’s creative programs and expanding your creative problem solving techniques, but we are still in need of specialized experts that work together as a team.
These days the assumption is often that "have computer and software, anyone can do it," the downside of technological advances.
I see more and more request for designers who must have illustrative skills and know all aspects of web developing with the same pay rate as if it was one skill. It has snowballed and I have seen job posts requiring a extreme list of skills and abilities: design, illustration, web coding, video, 3D Cad programming, photography, motion graphics, editing, camera work, audio, planning documents, coordinate systems data, copy writing, and bookkeeping.
My concern is there are too many "ignorant executives, clueless about design" trying to fuse it all together to save a few bucks". Where and when does it stop? These people have no idea how much time it takes to learn, master, composite and execute an idea with just one skill, let alone all of them. To increase profits The fad of requiring all employees to be “Jack-of-all-trades and masters of none" is effecting quality. Standards descend as profits rise.
In a forum a few months back I raised this question and it seemed to hit a nerve and got a huge response. Some comments from that forum below show this is a subject that is of major concern to a LOT of people: freelancers and staffers alike. What are your views?
11/13/2014 03:32:34 am
I could not agree more. In regard to the designer/programmer positions. There is nothing wrong with being familiar with all aspects of our field, but do not expect me as an art director to be able to write custom java script. Familiarity and execution are two different things. Knowing what is possible and how to implement are very different things. If I wanted to be a programmer, I would of become a programmer and vice verse.
11/13/2014 06:16:56 am
11/13/2014 06:38:11 pm
I agree that there are too many project managers that 'must' save some money. That's the reality. We can stay with the new rules or we can start doing something else. For 10 years I was a designer.
11/13/2014 08:40:31 pm
My fiance is web developer, but when he started his current job his title was also as a web designer. However, he lacks creativity in the designing department. So when he has to design something on a webpage, he come to me.. haha.. He does not at all know anything about Illustrator, InDesign, or much of Photoshop. He is all about the codes.
11/13/2014 09:03:53 pm
Its great to possess the power of a wide scale of strategies to produce your creative works. I myself have started as a traditional illustrator & designer almost 30 years ago and saw the need to embrace the new technologies as times have changed.
11/14/2014 07:37:50 am
I find it's a big problem in work places where they're not permitted to hire for "new" positions. Departments try to cope by adding skills to current job descriptions when they go to hire replacement staff after someone leaves. This was my experience working for a university dept where they just needed more staff than they were permitted to hire. As an illustrator/graphic designer I was rather unimpressed by the skills I was supposed to "learn on the fly", mainly being an IT tech and web developer.
11/15/2014 07:23:40 am
Your so right Amanda,
11/24/2014 06:07:00 am
This reminds me of a company that I designed a t-shirt for. They told me that they previously hired 3 people from Fiverr to do the job but did not like the outcome and didn't worry about it because it was only 5 bucks. You get what you pay for. If you want quality then you have to invest in your business get real. Any serious business professional that wouldn't sell their own services for chump change should not expect that from designers/artists either.
11/22/2014 11:37:59 pm
Perfectly stated. Agree 100%. Very frustrating to read these jobs postings. It's like buying clothes in "one size fits all". Nope, it doesn't. Thanks for your view and bringing it out into the open. I just hope the message gets to those who really need to see it. I, too, have been a graphic designer for 30+ years. Started "on the boards" and went to Mac kicking and screaming. Now can't imagine designing without it!
11/23/2014 05:28:15 am
An absolute valid but "Can-of-Worms" question.
11/24/2014 05:15:52 am
There are a lot of jobs that I can't apply for that are looking for a graphic designer all because they want web development skills. I do know HTML and CSS but I don't have experience with it and I assume they want those skills for a reason. I'm not confident that I know it well enough to just go for jobs like that. Titles definitely can be misleading when looking for gigs or jobs. The chances of finding a designer with coding skills on the same level as their design skills are slim to none and as well as developers with design skills. This is why we work together when we need to. I suggest companies stop being cheap. If they can't afford both and they do happen to find an all in one they should be prepared to increase the salary that they are willing to pay.
11/24/2014 06:22:59 am
Design is always evolving.
11/24/2014 09:07:49 am
I have been watching this intrusive alteration infect the industry for years now, and I haven't heard a lot of complaints and I was beginning to wonder if it was just me. I haven't decided if it has become socially acceptable of simply taboo. You and the others have made some great points and it is very refreshing to see how many others are expressing the same feelings.
3/12/2015 03:48:42 am
Your question is one that I have been wondering about for quite some time and no one seems to have a solution...lots of opinions but what are we doing about it, and is it possible to do anything about it? We're just the worker-bees after all. Who decided this? We all know that this comes down to money, but this disturbing trend of requiring 5 or 6 major skills morphing into one job means that if one salary was divided by the number of skills, we're working for pennies! Aaarrgg!
3/12/2015 04:40:29 am
So true Wendy,
6/23/2018 11:55:34 pm
I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
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Professional graphic illustrator and designer.