Take a wild guess! How many types of design do you think are there? Here’s a hint: more than one…
During my years of freelancing I encountered many clients who lived (and probably still do) under the impression that one designer can do it all… I would say around 70% of them hired me to do one thing, later awaiting for me to handle tasks that aren’t in my area of expertise, and they were acting very surprised after a decline from my part. 29% of my clients asked me at least once if I can do something for what I didn’t posses the necessary skills, understanding my task-rejection. But only 1% really knew what design is about and what all its branches mean – like logo, stationery, user interface, user experience, vectors…
First of all, let’s sync everybody: design doesn’t have the same meaning for an European and an American. In U.S.A. “design” has more technical connotations, while in Europe it has more artistic, more creative meanings. Of course, I’m saying this in the general use of the term.
For example, the same person in U.S.A. is called an home decorator, while in Europe is called an interior designer.
With such a broad denotation, we need to synced everybody in order to avoid confusions.
Let there be light
I’ll refer only to those types of design that can be catalogued as part of the Visual Design, leaving the technical design, or any other types, to those who are experts in those particular fields.
By design you should understand a mix of aesthetic, functional and sociopolitical dimensions that, when put together – in balance, can enhance the use of a service or product.
Come on! You gotta know what this means… It’s on everyone’s lips. It’s visible everywhere – on billboards, in magazines, on television.
You’ll get in touch with a fashion designer if you want something designed, for wearing – like clothes and accessories. Now, some say fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing… To be honest, there are so few fashion designers who can achieve functionality or aesthetics, and there are even fewer who can insert in a piece of clothing both of them. But there are tons of them who can’t reach either of them – there, I’ve said it!
So if you’ll need a pair of custom socks, a latex suit or a kitten on your shoulders… a fashion designer is the right one for you. Just be careful to talk nicely to them, they’re very sensitive persons.
You should talk with a product designer only if you’re an entrepreneur, if you run a business whose purpose is to sell PRODUCTS to customers.
A designer will take your ideas and create a tangible solution, a product. You’ll need a skillful one that possess both artistic and technical skills. You wouldn’t want a beer bottle in the shape of a fork now would you? OK, not the best example but you get the point.
Here’s the thing with this one – if you need ambient design for your office (or bar, or any other public space) than by all means call your trusty interior designer. But if you need your home decorated why won’t you just do it yourself? Would you eat my favorite food or your own? With a house – a home – should be the same. Live in your dream house.
Of course, use an interior designer but only as an adviser. There are a lot to be considered – space, colours, light, type of furniture, purpose of a certain room and many others.
This one is mainly about communication. A graphic designer will visually communicate a concept by using shapes, colors and typography. So here’s what you can get from a graphic designer:
- magazines,(e)books, newspapers
- business collateral prints (stationery design) – business cards, envelopes, maps
- CD/DVD covers
- (and probably) any other type of artworks
Ah, my comfort zone… I started as a graphic designer, but as projects came by I started to realize that my mind is not meant for graphics but more for web.
I don’t want you to think that I’m megalomaniac, but the truth is that not everyone can be a web designer. And there are so many out there who pose in fabulous web creators. In order for one to design the web, should have many different skills, knowledge from various disciplines and a methodical way of thinking.
In the following days, I’ll offer you some more web design insights, but let’s be clear what’s it about:
- Page layout
- User interface
- User experience (this one is fairly large)
- and many more
A good web designer will always work with a good developer, because pretty things without functionality are of no use to anyone.
A temporary goodbye
The point of this article is that before talking and hiring designers, make sure you know exactly what you need. Don’t expect someone who calls himself a designer to do EVERYTHING. It simply won’t be possible (even if they’ll say otherwise).
Consider even hiring more than one – good designers come in packs. A great team will have its individuals focused and specialized on certain aspects – you’ll get higher quality in a shorter time.
Remember to stay tuned and discover all the web design goodies – the “must know about” if you’re running an online business!