There is not a designer profession

March 29 2017

One thing I’ve been thinking a lot these days since I got inside the IT industry building my startup Replit is that around this industry in general and in society, in particular, there is a strong misconception about what is a “designer”.

I was trying to put myself a title around the designing word in IT because if you say you are an architect people just think about your profile sketching buildings, and many people need titles in order to frame you in what you do.

It has become popular that a “designer” is a profile who has the knowledge to create beautiful user interfaces, beautiful graphic design, beautiful apps maybe?

I came from the Spanish architecture world and in this field, there is not a “designer” but during the degree, you spend all day long designing. Designing processes, concepts, ideas, windows, how light goes inside a space, how a person opens a door, how a table is situated in a place, how the structure maintains the building up, what happens when you mix certain kind of yellow with a blue in a space for the people that will live in it, how is the right height of a stair step to now fall down when you use it, how to mix materials to get right isolation of a wall, and I can continue so on.

All of them are design processes, and no of them has almost anything to do with each other. It is a way of thinking.

There is no “designer” profession.

A “design” is something that has been created, whatever thing. Nature itself designs.

"To design" is the process, is the verb, the action, is the method to approach solving a certain problem using a methodology.

  • Take a look at my door design, what do you think?
  • Could you bring me my designs in the sketchbook?

Those are phrases are we are used to.

Design syntactically could be applied to anything not just apps or web user interfaces. Everything ever created has passed through a design process.

There is no “designer” profession.

The quality then of a design could be how good it solve the problem it tries to solve if it tries to solve anything.

But in general, introducing the word design adds many levels of abstraction to the concept that could be discussed.

So if you heard “designer” these days the vast majority thinks about a graphic designer or user interface designer, or a guy to say yeah, build my app plz. (You hear these things).

So I just wanted to clarify this stuff again.

There is not a designer profession.

For example:

Designer of buildings = Architect

Designer of aeroplanes = Aeronautical engineer

Designer of films = Film director

Designer of code = Developer

So I think we should reeducate people about what is a designer is. For me, these are people who solve problems. They are ones who solve them through a more creative process and others that solve them in a more empirical way, people that approach the same problem differently.

Many times when you start designing something then you create new problems, problems that require new ways of solving them, or maybe new fields of study and research to solve them.

Not just, designers.


Thanks for reading.