At the start of November, I can’t help but think about all of the wonderful holidays to come. Annual days set aside where family and friends come together to laugh and share updates about their lives. Eventually, we all get asked one or two questions that we dread because we already know exactly how the conversation is going to go. The question I have to prepare myself for is: So, what exactly do you do?
Every year when my aunt Ethel breaks out this gem again, I have to remind myself that design as a whole can be broad and most people may not fully understand the value that a good designer adds. Allow me to break it down:
A graphic designer or graphic artist is the creative entity on a team. They develop a wide variety of materials, using their creativity and unique skill sets, to help sell a product or service, while also contributing to the development of the brand’s identity.
My usual follow up explanation to this is to point to some nearby object or advertisement, and describe the ways in which a designer was involved. For instance, a car – almost the entire population drives them and we see them everywhere on a regular basis. Design made whatever car you’re picturing right now the way it is. A team of automotive designers created the exterior aesthetic of the car as well as the interior elements that enhance the passenger’s experience inside the car. A separate team of designers developed the advertisements to help sell that car. This team likely worked across multiple platforms and mediums including printed ads in magazines and on billboards as well as digital ads seen on social media and television. Most likely additional designers were involved outside of these dedicated teams to provide materials like business cards for the salesmen that sell these cars or flyers for savings events.
Now let’s really answer the heart of my family’s favorite question: what do I do?
I work as a website designer while also providing collateral for social media and print materials. My main focus is to provide the best user experience in the most aesthetically pleasing way. Keep in mind all of the functionality on any given website – there can be many moving parts and elements to keep track of. Do you want a pop-up window for a newsletter sign up? Do you want your customers to have a photo gallery to look through? How will these elements contribute to the look of your site and get people to interact with them? Internet users value the experience and design of a company’s website more than ever before. In fact, 75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design1.
When you take a hard look at what I really do, it boils down to this: I help companies make money and connect with their customers so they can build relationships that help them keep making money. A good designer is just as important as a good salesman because both help sell your product.
1Sweor. 27 Eye-Opening Website Statistics: Is Your Website Costing You Clients? Source