This is a repost of my writing from the Sunlight Foundation Tumblr
In 2011, Mark Boulton wrote, Visual Design Is Not a Thing, in consideration of the definition and scope of what it means to be a designer. He criticized the then increasing trend of hiring for Visual Designers as an over simplification of the inevitable process any designer goes through to find the appropriate solution for ill-defined projects.
Four years later, he followed that post up with Visual Design Might Be a Thing, in which he recognizes that a thorough discovery process within a self aware organization capable of questioning and defining project goals, may in fact leave room for the role of ‘just’ a visual designer.
At Sunlight, our designers are at times information architects, user experience designers, visual designers, web designers, print designers, illustrators and project managers. Defining what we do comes up a lot. When we hire for a new member of our team, we reconsider the appropriate title and whether it targets the right people. Visual designer would not be enough to describe our contribution to the work at Sunlight.
There does seem to be a dilution of the term graphic designer/designer that is occurring with the ever increasing niche roles in the design field. Boulton’s take on the term visual designer probably gives it just enough credibility. Sure, it’s a thing, but only in the most perfectly architected circumstances. And in those moments…It kind of sounds like a boring job.