Going Pro Series - Design Roles 101

July 26, 2014

Marketers, as the information collector and filter before sending out a message to the outside world, have to work with people from different functions inside a company. And besides interpreting product managers and engineers’ mind into what might catch your target audience’s attention, designers are probably the closest partners for marketers.


In working place, being able to know the big picture of each job function is critical. You obviously don’t want to offend people when you first meet them by oversimplifying or even mistaking what they do. Showing enough knowledge and respect not only leaves you great impressions on those who you are going to work with, but also gives you the image of a pro.


So here you are some design roles 101 before you knock on their door for the first visit. Please note: this is description in general of the most commonly seen design roles in corporations, and the description might vary based on the scale and the goal of the organizations. It’d be not unusual some of the close roles below might get merged into one, or vice versa.


ID designer: ID is Industrial Design, so basically they come up the sketch of the product through ideation. You will see the appearance of the product on the computer first during 3D modeling, and the product in different texture and colors by rendering.  After initial decision is made on the computer work, you then would see a mockup, a dummy, so people on the same project could actually see how the new product feels and looks like in real life.


Graphic Designer: Graphic designer is probably the most familiar kind of designer for the public. From tiny stuff such as business cards, document templates and covers, marketing materials such as posters, brochures, packages, to corporate identification design and logos, these works are basically covered by graphic designers.


UI & GUI Designer: UI stands for User Interface, and the G in GUI means Graphic. These two roles usually work close together with each other. When UI designer focuses more on the logic flow of how a website/application goes, GUI designer is the one who visualizes the complete work based on the UI framework. So if an app looks really cool but somehow you find it difficult to get what you are looking for, it means its GUI designer has done a great job while its UI designer should check the root cause of the negative feedback and improve the usability.


Web Developer & Web Designer: Like UI is to GUI designers, so is Web developers to designers. Both of the formers are responsible for building up the framework, and the latter are responsible for making them look good. Web developers create the website from scratch, and focus on the underlying coding that assigns the deployment of the webpages, how the website interacts with the users, and what kind of plugins to be used. Meanwhile, web designers focus on the visual effects of the website that attracts the users’ attention at first glance.


In some companies, these roles might be scattered in different business units, while in others these people might be centered as a functional unit, depending on how much these roles weigh for the company’s output. No matter what, make sure you know all this before going for a request!


Next time, we will go deeper on each of the roles above, so you can improve the performance when communicating with the designers by knowing better about what they do, so you can help them help you.


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